The Centre on Wednesday said University of Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula’s mother could have been pressurised to retract her comments against the Indian Union Muslim League, a political party in Kerala. Rohith Vemula had committed suicide on January 17, 2016.

On Sunday, The News Minute reported that Radhika Vemula claimed that the Indian Union Muslim League had approached her offering help just a few days after her son died. “Within one month, they took us to Kerala and made us participate in a big meeting with around 30,000 to 40,000 people and promised that they would sanction Rs 20 lakh and construct a house for us,” she said.

But the money never materialised. “How can use they make promises and use it for political gain?” she said. After much pressure from women’s organisations, the party gave her two cheques worth Rs 2.5 lakh each, she said. But one of them bounced, she added.

The Centre on Wednesday said it was condemnable that the Indian Union Muslim League had promised to give Rohith Vemula’s family Rs 20 lakh to build a house, but then reneged on the promise, ANI reported.

“I received information that even Congress President Rahul Gandhi took Vemula’s family to podiums and asked them to make statements,” Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal told reporters at a press conference. “The intention behind it and the offer should be revealed. Gandhi should apologise for doing petty politics on a pillar of lies.”

On Monday, Rohith Vemula’s mother, however, claimed The News Minute article was fake, according to News18. “They [the Indian Union Muslim League] have given me an advance of Rs 5 lakh for land and promised me Rs 10 lakh more after Ramzan,” she said. “I will campaign for anyone who is against the BJP. The article is spreading wrong things.” She also denied that a cheque had bounced.

Goyal claimed that Radhika Vemula could have been pressured to retract her comments. “I believe there was an effort made to pressurise the mother to retract from what she had said, probably again on the pretext of giving her some money,” he said.