Weeks after BJP alleged corruption in the Rajiv Gandhi foundation, the Union government has ordered a probe against the trust. A statement put out by Ministry of Home Affairs said, "MHA sets up inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into violation of various legal provisions of PMLA, Income Tax Act, FCRA etc by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust & Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust."
The probe will be headed by a Special Director-level officer of Enforcement Directorate.
In a series of tweets on June 26, BJP President JP Nadda had alleged misappropriation of fund by the foundation. "Countries like China donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation every year between 2005 – 2009. Tax havens like Luxembourg donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation every year between 2006 – 2009. Others, including the likes of the European Commission, donated to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation every year between 2005 – 2009. UNDP, WHO, Foreign NGOs and Companies with deep commercial interests in India were also tapped dry – from Ford Foundation to Gates Foundation and from Deutsche Bank to HSBC.
“Why did Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, headed by Sonia Gandhi, accept money from the Chinese government and Chinese Embassy? What was the purpose for which this money was deployed? Why did Smt. Sonia Gandhi feel no shame in sacrificing national interest by accepting money from foreign powers for personal trusts?”
He also alleged that Congress-led UPA government closed RCEP deal totally against Indian interests in 2011 and asked why this was done five years before the deadline. "What was the hurry? Parallelly, India’s trade deficit with China was allowed to increase from an almost negligible $1.1 Bn in 2003-04 to as much as $36.2 Bn in 2013-14. Why did the Congress weaken India’s economic position? Was this the quid pro quo for accepting Chinese money by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation?" Nadda said.
With BJP's focus on the Congress-China relationship, the Grand Old Party countered that the government was unable to answer Rahul Gandhi's questions on Chinese intrusion and death of Indian soldiers in Galwan and was hence attacking his family with baseless allegations.
Labelling the development a "witch hunt by the government”, Congress spokesperson Nasir Hussain told CNN-News18: "Government is hell bent on diverting attention. They have failed in tackling coronavirus, migrant crisis... they have given up our land. They have no answer to questions asked by Rahul Gandhi so they are targeting one family.”
Government officials said the probe by the inter-ministerial committee will look into allegations that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation worked with the China Association for Internationally Friendly Contact, which is allegedly a vehicle of the Central Military Commission of China to infiltrate and influence top voices in other countries.
The ambit of the probe will include donation to Prime Minister National Relief fund. The BJP has alleged that PMNRF diverted money every year from 2005 to 2008 to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and also forced ministries like MHA, MHRD, Ministry of Health and PSUs like SAIL, SBI, GAIL, ONGC to donate to RGF.
Mehul Choksi's alleged donation to RGF and quid pro quid if any will also be probed, said officials.