Ahmedabad, Jan 18 (Agencies): A city-based poet has been asked by the state-run Urdu Sahitya Academy to return money given to him for publishing a book alleging that a guest piece in the book showed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in poor light.

Aqeel Shatir, however, claimed that the guest piece with regard to Modi was just a cover-up and he actually was being penalised for seeking information under RTI about grants received by the Academy from the government and its utilisation.

"I received a notice from the Academy a few months after filing RTI application seeking information on financial grants received and its utilisation over the last five years," Shatir who runs an STD PCO in Gomtipur area of city said.

"I am being targeted for seeking information on issues that would expose corruption within the Academy. Allegation of violation of academy rules and printing guest article showing Modi in poor light is just a cover-up," he said.

"My book 'Abhi Zinda Hoon Main' (I am Still Alive) which is being made the bone of contention was published in 2008 with Rs 10,000 grant from the Urdu Sahitya Academy for printing it," he said.

The paragraph critical of Modi for 2002 communal riots was written by another poet Raunaq Afroz of Bhiwandi. The piece by Afroz was part of preface written by eight guest writers for Shatir's book.

Shatir said the contentious piece was removed from the book immediately after his attention was drawn to it by Urdu writer Mohiuddin Bombaywala during the book release function in 2008.

"I removed the page containing the objectionable paragraph from all the copies before they were put up for sale in the market," he claimed.

"But about 80 copies gifted to the noted writers during the book release function carried the paragraph," Shatir said.

He said two years after the book release, the Academy served him notice in November last, asking him to explain why he should not be directed to pay back the grant for violating Academy norms by printing piece on Modi without permission.

"I wrote to the Academy explaining what had happened and how I had removed the contentious piece from all the books before it was sent to the market," Shatir said.

"But they have now written a letter saying they were not satisfied with my explanation and have asked met to return the grant of Rs 10,000 with interest," he said, adding there was no rule under which the Academy can compel him to return the grant.

Registrar of Urdu Sahitya Academi Harshad Trivedi was not available for comment.