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Thursday, July 09, 2020

BJP, Congress continue war of words on funds received by RGF

JP Nadda said Rajiv Gandhi Foundation “not only took the money and there were scams but also gave dodgy donations”. He said Congress, which had targeted BJP over the issue of Mehul Choksi, should answer why Choksi took money from RGF.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 28, 2020 2:21:25 am
Rajiv Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation china donation, rajiv gandhi china, sonia gandhi, bjp, congress JP Nadda and Randeep Surjewala. (File)

Stepping up its attack on the Congress, which has been hitting out at the government over the LAC standoff, the BJP on Saturday asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi not to hide behind “Corona or the situation in China” to avoid answering answers on funds received by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF).

BJP president J P Nadda came out with more of “the deeds” of the Congress during the UPA regime, and said the party leadership had breached people’s trust. He said: “I want to tell Soniaji not to try to avoid the original questions because of Corona or the situation in China. The Army of India is able to protect the country and our borders and the country is safe under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi.”

The Congress hit back, saying Nadda has lost his “political balance in his flailing attempts at distraction and diversion from the issues of national security and territorial integrity”.

Addressing a press conference, Nadda alleged that former PM Manmohan Singh gave Rs 100 crore to RGF in the 1991 Union Budget and that RGF accounts were not allowed to go for CAG audit, nor is it under RTI. Posing 10 questions for Sonia, Nadda asked: “I want to know how such precious land on which Jawahar Bhawan is built was given to RGF on perpetual lease.”

He alleged that NGOs and companies that have “deep commercial interests” had donated money and it is “a shame and sacrificing the national interests to accept money from foreign powers”.

Nadda said RGF “not only took the money and there were scams but also gave dodgy donations”. He said Congress, which had targeted BJP over the issue of Mehul Choksi, should answer why Choksi took money from RGF.

He said RCEP was not in the interest of Indian farmers and MSMEs, hence PM Narendra Modi did not join it, but the Congress government was keen to join it. “What was the need to be part of RCEP? How did India’s trade deficit with China rise from $1.1 billion to $36.2 billion? Was this not quid pro quo?” he asked.

Reacting to the allegations, Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said the “wild and insidious hatred of the BJP vis-à-vis the Congress unfolds every day in an embarrassing and uglier fashion”.

“No amount has been received as donation from Mehul Choksi personally as has been falsely alleged. Nor has any loan ever been given by RGF to him. The records of RGF reflect receipt of a modest donation of Rs 10 lakh from Naviraj Estates Pvt. Ltd. (in the year 2013) of which Choksi was one of the Directors. The entire world knows the connection of Mehul Choksi to the Modi government and his consequent escape after duping banks of thousands of crores of public money,” he said in a statement.

“Will BJP, like Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has done, ask Vivekananda Foundation and India Foundation to make public the list of its donors (including foreign individuals), companies, entities, organisations including those of Chinese origin, if any?” Surejwala asked. “Will the BJP declare the name of donors from whom it has received thousands of crores in donations through electoral bonds? Will the BJP disclose the source of funding, name of donors (including of Chinese origin) for ‘Overseas Friends of BJP’ ?…”

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