Apart from Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former finance minister P Chidambaram are trustees of the RGF.
An inter-ministerial committee led by a special director of the Enforcement Directorate
(ED) has been set up to probe the Rajiv Gandhi
Foundation (RGF) and other trusts alleged money laundering, violation of income tax rules and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, a Ministry of Home Affairs official said.
The probe follows charges made by senior members of the Bharatiya Janata Party that the Congress received donations from China.
On June 25, BJP president J P Nadda had said the RGF had received $300,000 from the People’s Republic of China
and the Chinese embassy in 2005-06 to carry out studies that were not in the national
interest. The probe will also look at the Rajiv Gandhi
Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
Apart from Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh
and former finance minister P Chidambaram
are trustees of the RGF.
The committee has bureaucrats from the home, urban development and finance ministries, suggesting building law violations are also being probed.
Reacting to the move, the Congress said the RGF had nothing to hide but asked how such questions were not asked of entities like the Vivekananda Foundation, Overseas Friends of BJP, India Foundation and even the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“The RGF has nothing to add, nothing to fear because you have all the machinery and you can ask every question in every inquiry. Because we are here as law-abiding persons to answer. But you need to be exposed fully…you don’t even ask these questions of many holy cows. Please ask us, please enquire all that you like, you are harassing each opposition segment individual or institutional….,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.
“But the beauty is that these lovely questions like 9th schedule exemptions…. don’t get asked of Vivekananda Foundation, they don’t get asked of Overseas Friends of BJP, India Foundation or for that matter they don’t get asked for much larger quantum of money from the RSS,” Singhvi said.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi
said the Congress would not be intimidated. “Mr Modi believes the world is like him. He thinks everyone has a price or can be intimidated. He will never understand that those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated,” Gandhi tweeted.
Referring to the Congress’s criticism over the government’s handling of the Galwan Valley standoff, Nadda had said, “All political parties said for the interest of the nation, we are with you Modi ji, you move ahead. Only one family began raising questions…. today they are standing against China
as if there is no sentinel-like them.” He added, “You take $300,000 donation and teach us nationalism.”
On the same day, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, too, echoed this: “The donor’s list of RGF annual report in 2005-06 clearly shows that it received a donation from the Embassy of People’s Republic of China.”