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Congress dismisses BJP allegations, says money from Chinese embassy, PMNRF used for welfare purpose

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Day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda targetted the Congress and the Gandhi family alleging the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) had accepted donation from the Chinese embassy in 2005-06 for conducting studies that were not in the national interest, the Congress on Friday dismissed the claims and said it was used for welfare purposes.

The BJP had also alleged that Congress had diverted Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The BJP and Congress are locked in a bitter war of words over the two issues. Congress also issued a point by point rebuttal to the charges leveled by the BJP.

Congress’s national media in-charge, in a statement, said the donation from the Chinese embassy was utilised for the welfare of disabled persons, while the grant from PMRF was utilised for tsunami relief work.

Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, in a statement, said Rs 1.45 crore donation from the Chinese embassy was used by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) for the welfare of disabled persons and research on Indo-China relations.

Also Read | Nadda attacks Congress for PMNRF donation to RGF, opposition party accuses BJP of deception

Randeep Surjewala also said the RGF accounts were duly audited and statutory returns were filed under FCRA to the Indian government. “Grant duly reflected in all IT returns and the home ministry, which found no wrongdoing,” he said.

Over the allegations over Rs 20 lakh received from PMNRF, Randeep Surjewala clarified that the fund was utilised for tsunami relief work carried out on behalf of the foundation in Andaman and Nicobar islands in 2005.

Hitting back, Randeep Surjewala said, “The diabolical game of deception, diversion and disinformation is being played out by the BJP and J P Nadda to divert the attention of the country from the Chinese occupation of Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and now Depsang up to the Y-junction, 18 km inside the LAC.”

“This is the greatest disservice that the BJP and PM Narendra Modi are doing to the country. Instead of fighting China and defending our country, they are fighting the Congress party and undermining India’s territorial integrity,” Surjewala alleged.

“We want to tell PM Modi and BJP chief JP Nadda that their total failure to protect the territorial integrity of India cannot be washed away in a cacophony of manufactured and desperate lies vis-a-vis grants to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation,” Randeep Surjewala said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram aso 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.

Taking on BJP president J P Nadda on the charges made against the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), Chidambaram accused him of speaking “half-truths” and asked him to “come to terms with reality” and not live in the past.

“Suppose RGF returns the Rs 20 lakh, will PM Modi assure the country that China will vacate its transgression and restore status quo ante,” he asked on Twitter.

“Mr Nadda, come to terms with reality, don’t live in the past that is distorted by your half-truths. Please answer our questions on Chinese intrusion into Indian territory,” Chidambaram said in another tweet.

(With PTI inputs)

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