Haryana minister defends Rs 50 lakh grant to sect

Chandigarh:Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij on Sunday defended his decision to sanction a Rs 50 lakh grant for sports activities to the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect, saying that the money was for promotion of sports. "What is wrong in that (giving the Rs 50 lakh grant)? They (sect) run schools and other institutions. Their players won many medals at the national games held in Kerala recently," Vij told media. "I can give only Rs 50 lakh under the rules. Otherwise I would have given more," Vij said. The cash-rich Dera Sacha Sauda sect headquarters are located near Sirsa town, 250 km from Chandigarh. The sect, with millions of followers in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and other states, is considered a rich sect. The sect's controversial and colourful head, Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, has been embroiled in various controversies in the past few years. He is facing rape and murder conspiracy charges for the past over 15 years in different courts. He was booked for hurting religious sentiments of Sikhs in 2007. IANS