Government panel to investigate three Gandhi family trusts
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday announced it was setting up a panel to investigate the alleged wrongdoings of three trusts of the Gandhi family — namely Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust. MHA said the director of Enforcement Directorate will head the inter-ministerial committee. CBI will also be a part of this committee. Here's more.
Context: Congress and BJP got to mud-slinging amid India-China dispute
This development comes at a time when BJP has been targeting Congress over its alleged China links. This matter got attention after the Centre was cornered by Congress, more specifically by ex-party President Rahul Gandhi, over the tensions in Eastern Ladakh. Indo-China ties suffered in May and further nosedived last month when PLA attacked Indian troops at the Galwan Valley. 20 soldiers were martyred.
Nadda spoke about "brazen fraud," said Gandhis hurt the nation
In fact, last month, BJP President JP Nadda claimed money from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF). In a series of tweets, Nadda berated the Gandhi family saying one "family's hunger for wealth," proved costly for the nation. He said by diverting public money to a family-run foundation, the Gandhis committed a brazen fraud.
Nadda showed documents to support his claim
To support his claim, Nadda posted images of a list of RGF donors between the years 2007 and 2008 and from 2005-2006. The image showed companies like SBI, GAIL, and ministries, including MHA, infused funds in the organization. "PMNRF, meant to help people in distress, was donating money to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in UPA years. Who sat on the PMNRF board? Smt. Sonia Gandhi," Nadda wrote.
Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka, Dr. Singh, Chidambaram among RGF's trustees
While UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the wife of Rajiv Gandhi, is the chairperson of RGF, the couple's children — Priyanka and Rahul — are trustees. Former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram are also trustees of the foundation, set up in 1991. Sonia is also the chairperson of Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and oversees operations of Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
RS Prasad claimed RGF got funds from China
Adding to Nadda's allegations, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said RGF supported a free trade deal between India and China, which led to a huge trade deficit and favored Beijing. "The donors' list of RGF annual report in 2005-06 clearly shows that it received a donation from the Embassy of People's Republic of China. We want to know why this donation was taken," Prasad said.
Not all talks, MHA serious about frauds in Gandhi trusts
In response, Congress told BJP it was diverting from the conversation around Eastern Ladakh, and kept reminding of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bonhomie with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now, MHA's declaration about the probe hints the Centre isn't keen on just leveling allegations. As per the tweet, it will be probed if these three trusts violated PMLA, IT Act, and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.Share this timeline