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New Delhi, July 8, 2020
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has set up an inter-ministerial committee to probe alleged violations of legal provisions by three Gandhi family trusts, namely Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
The committee led by a Special Director of the Enforcement Directorate will coordinate investigations into alleged violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Income Tax Act, and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by these foundations, a Ministry spokesperson tweeted on Wednesday.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was established on June 21, 1991, to work on a range of issues, including literacy, health, disability, empowerment of the underprivileged, livelihood, and natural resources management. Its current focus areas are education, disability, and natural resources management.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the present Chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and senior party leader P. Chidambaram are members of the board.
The Centre's move followed recent allegations levelled by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the Congress and the Gandhi family, claiming that China had funded the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
Last month, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, citing "documentary proof", sought an explanation from the Congress as to why the Chinese Embassy had donated about Rs 90 lakh to the Foundation.
The Embassy of China in India and the government of China are said to be amongst the donors to the Foundation.
A petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court to seek a probe into the memorandum of understanding between the Congress and the Communist Party of China in 2008.
On June 27, BJP President J. P. Nadda had alleged that the money received in the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) between 2005-2008 was diverted to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF).
The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust is a registered not-for-profit organization set up in 2002 to address the developmental needs of the underprivileged in the country, especially the rural poor. On its board are Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, businessman Ashok Ganguly, and chartered accountant Bansi Mehta.
The Trust's name is mentioned in an alleged land grab case in Haryana by the CBI, in which the agency has made Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda as the main accused.
The then Haryana government had allegedly handed over panchayat land to the Charitable Trust during 2004-14 in the name of public interest.
Hitting back, the Congress on Wednesday said that if the BJP uses its energy and time to resolve the issues of national interest instead of making false and unsuccessful attacks on Rahul Gandhi, it will be good for the country.