The Congress on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government, accusing it of hatching a "venal conspiracy of muckraking" to "slander, malign and defame" the party over Rs.50 lakh donation received by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust from controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s NGO.

It said the money was returned when the facts came to light about the organization.

"Modi government is running its usual diabolical agenda to slander, malign and defame through Goebbelsian lies meted out by Home Ministry in shape of mischievous and selective news plants.

"To top this venal conspiracy of muckraking, Modi government and BJP fielded Union Cabinet Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad," party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

He said what is utterly shocking is the fact that a Union Cabinet Minister, who has sworn by the Constitution, is asking questions about documents and facts, which are "in possession of the government and are being leaked by them mischievously."

"Truth is that Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) received a donation in conformity with law and norms and same was returned by the Trust out of its volition in view of the controversy surrounding Islamic Research Foundation/Zakir Naik.," he said.

Targeting the Modi government, he said it must stop its "web of vengeful deceit and lies."

"Despite the extremities of vindictive malintent, they will never be able to cloud the truth", Surjewala said.

Talking to reporters, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi spoke on similar lines and targeted the government and BJP of sensationalizing matters "without showing the least degree of responsibility".