NEW DELHI: The home ministry on Wednesday set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into alleged violation of various provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Income-Tax Act, Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) etc by three trusts linked to the Gandhi family.
These trusts are, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
The committee will be headed by a special director of the Enforcement Directorate. Apart from ED, Income-Tax department and home ministry are expected to be represented in the probe committee.
The move comes days after BJP president JP Nadda, in a series of tweets, alleged that public donations made to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) were diverted to RGF during UPA tenure.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of both Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) as well as Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT). Her son and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is a trustee in both RGF and RGCT, while daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who only last week was asked to vacate the government bungalow allotted to her on security grounds, is a trustee on RGF board. Sonia Gandhi is overseeing affairs of Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust as well. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also on the RGF board of trustees.
BJP leader Nadda had on June 26 tweeted, “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. Who chairs RGF? Smt Sonia Gandhi. Totally reprehensible, disregarding ethics, processes and not bothering about transparency.”
PMNRF, meant to help people in distress, was donating money to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in UPA years. Who sat on t… https://t.co/9ZaclPwXpQ
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) 1593140437000
He had attached a list of RGF donors and partner organisations for the year 2007-08.
In another tweet, Nadda stated, “People of India donated their hard-earned money to PMNRF to help their fellow citizens in need. To divert this public money into a family-run foundation is not only a brazen fraud but also a big betrayal of the people of India.” He further added, “One family’s hunger for wealth has cost the nation immensely. If only they have devoted their energies towards more constructive agenda. The Congress’ Imperial Dynasty needs to apologise to (sic) the unchecked loot for self-gains”.
People of India donated their hard-earned money to PMNRF to help their fellow citizens in need. To divert this publ… https://t.co/MPcqpLvB4y
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) 1593140455000
Reacting to the tweet, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who incidentally also happens to be on the RGF board of trustees, had said, “Why is the BJP hiding the fact that the Rs 20 lakhs received by RGF from PM National Relief Fund in 2005 was for tsunami relief work in Andaman & Nicobar? And that every rupee was spent for the purpose and accounted for?”
Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, echoing Nadda’s sentiments, had also questioned a donation made to RGF by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi in 2005-06. He tweeted on June 26, “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.”
Among the donors list of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation annual report in 2005-06 clearly shows that it has received a dona… https://t.co/BPH3W2LKAp
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) 1593090669000
Chidambaram tweeted in response the next day, “What has the grant to RGF 15 years ago got to do with China’s intrusion into Indian territory in 2020 under the watch of the Modi government”. He further asked, “Supposed RGF returns the Rs 20 lakh, will PM Modi assure the country that China will vacate its transgression and restore status quo ante?”
What has the grant to RGF 15 years ago got to do with China’s intrusion into Indian territory in 2020 under the wat… https://t.co/MVGH0rM664
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) 1593228396000
As reported by TOI earlier, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust’s name had cropped up during an inquiry conducted by the home ministry into Islamic evengelist Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation. The probe discovered that IRF had donated Rs 50 lakh to RGCT in 2011 by cheque. However, after Naik came under the lens of investigative agencies for Islamic radicalisation, RGCT had returned the donation to IRF in July 2016.
In Video:MHA forms panel to probe 3 Gandhi family trusts