The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), which was was set up on June 21, 1991, works on a range of critical issues such as health, literacy, science and technology, women’s and children’s development, disability support, Panchayati Raj institutions, natural resource management, and libraries. The foundation is headed by Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Indian National Congress Party. Other trustees include Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Suman Dubey, Rahul Gandhi, Dr Sekhar Raha, Prof MS Swaminathan, Dr Ashok Ganguly, Shri Sanjiv Goenka and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Amid an ongoing war of words over the Sino-India standoff in eastern Ladakh, the BJP on June 25, accused the Congress of receiving a donation of $300,000 from the Chinese Embassy in 2005-06. Addressing the BJP's Jan Samvad rally in Bhopal through a video link, BJP President J P Nadda alleged that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was the chairman of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) when the money was given.
The Congress party said the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) issue raised by the BJP government was a "manufactured charge" and "diversionary tactic" to deflect attention from the LAC crisis, and the money the NGO received from China was used for the welfare of differently-abled people and research on Sino-India relations.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would assure the country that China would vacate Indian territory and restore status quo ante at the border, if the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation returned Rs 20 lakh it had taken as donation earlier. Chidambaram accused him of speaking "half-truths" and asked him to "come to terms with reality" and not live in the past. He also asked the BJP president to answer the questions raised by the Congress on the Chinese intrusion into the Indian territory.
The Shiv Sena hit out at the BJP over its charge that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) had accepted donations from the Chinese embassy, and asked it whether the issue had any connection with intrusion by the neighbouring country in Ladakh and the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers. The Sena also alleged that those raising questions against the government over the standoff with China were being labelled as Chinese agents by the BJP.
Nadda alleged that the RGF, which is headed by Sonia Gandhi, continuously received donations from the Chinese embassy between 2005-09, from the "tax haven" of Luxemburg, which is full of "hawala transactions", between 2006-09. NGOs and companies with "deep commercial interests" also donated to the foundation. Addressing a press conference, he launched a scathing attack on Congress party and alleged that under the UPA regime, many central ministries and PSUs were forced to give money to the RGF. National interest was "sacrificed" and donations into the family-run foundation were accepted, Nadda said. Nadda asked the Congress on Saturday to come clean on its "links" with China, and the details of its MoU with the Communist Party of China.
Union minister Smriti Irani hit out at Sonia Gandhi over the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation row, alleging that the Congress president left "no stone unturned to loot the country for her children". She also suggested that like Amethi, the Congress will face electoral defeat in Nehru-Gandhi family's pocket borough of Rae Bareli.