Press Trust of India

Don’t hide behind coronavirus, China row: JP Nadda grills Sonia Gandhi over Chinese donations to RGF

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Intensifying his attack on the Congress, BJP president JP Nadda on Saturday asked the opposition party 10 questions, including about alleged links between the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and China, and said that his party will leave no stone unturned in “exposing double-faced politicians”.

“I want to tell Sonia Gandhi that under the garb of China and Covid-19 crisis, one should not shy away from answering the questions the nation wants to know… It’s a shame. It’s a sacrifice of national interest by accepting money from foreign powers in personal trusts,” Nadda told reporters while attacking the Congress president.

Amid the standoff with China, he asserted that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is safe and secure and that its brave armed forces are fully capable of protecting the country. The central government has also handled the Covid-19 crisis in the best possible manner, he added.

Nadda alleged that the RGF, which is headed by Sonia Gandhi, received donations every year from the Chinese embassy between 2005-09 and from the “tax haven” of Luxembourg, which is full of “hawala transactions”, between 2006-09.

NGOs and companies with “deep commercial interests” also donated to the foundation, he alleged.

The Congress had earlier dismissed Nadda’s attack on the RGF over alleged donations to it from the Chinese embassy and the Prime Minister National Relief Fund as a “diabolical game of deception” by the ruling party to divert attention from the alleged Chinese occupation of Indian territory.

Hitting out at the Congress, Nadda said, “Congress and corruption are synonymous. Our party will contribute to the nation’s development to change its face, and will also leave no stone unturned in exposing double-faced politicians.”

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.

He said India’s trade deficit with China soared to USD 36.2 billion in 2013-14 from USD 1.1 billion in 2004 and asked if it was “quid pro quo” from the Congress. The Congress-led UPA was in power between 2004-14.

The Congress “weakened” India’s economic position by entering into trade pact, which included China, he said.

The BJP president also took a jibe at former prime minister Manmohan Singh, accusing him of allocating Rs 100 crore to the foundation as the finance minister in 1991 when India was going through its “worst financial crisis”.

“Since then it has regularly received donation from ministries. Yet, the RGF refuses to be audited by the CAG or even come under the Right to Information Act. What does Manmohan Singh have to say on this monumental loot and organised plunder,” Nadda asked.

Singh had used “monumental loot and organised plunder” barb to criticise the Modi government’s demonetisation decision in 2016.

The Gandhi family, Nadda said, believes in “authority without responsibility” and asked the Congress president to answer the questions raised by him.

He also had a dig at Congress leader P Chidambaram, who had asked earlier if Modi would assure the country that China would vacate Indian territory and restore status quo ante at the border, seeking to know if the RGF returned Rs 20 lakh it had taken as donation earlier.

Chidambaram’s comments, Nadda said, were an “admission of guilt”. Chidambaram is also facing corruption charges and was in jail before getting bail, he said.

With the opposition often attacking the Modi government over Mehul Choksi, accused of defrauding banks, fleeing India, Nadda said Choksi had donated money to the RGF.

The “crown prince” of the Congress had used the most “obnoxious” language for Modi after Choksi fled but he was helped by the Congress to get bank loans, Nadda alleged.

Raising another question, he asked, “The RGF worked with the China Association for Internationally Friendly Contact, which is just a vehicle of the Central Military Commission of China to infiltrate and influence top voices in other countries. Sonia Gandhi must answer how much influence and infiltration of this Chinese agency happened in India.”

“The RGF not only takes money from scams but also gives dodgy donations to their own organisations. Why did it turn to donate money to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust controlled by the family and Christian Missionary organizations like World Vision?” he asked.

The BJP and the Congress have been engaged in a bitter war of words, with top leaders of the opposition party, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, attacking the government repeatedly for the alleged Chinese intrusion into Indian territory and asking the prime minister to take the nation into confidence over the border situation.

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