The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday set up an inter-ministerial investigation committee to coordinate the investigations into violations of various laws by three trusts associated with the Gandhi family – the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
A ministry press note said these trusts have violated various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Income-tax Act and the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act.
Headed by a special director of the Enforcement Directorate, the investigation committee will have representatives from the ED, the CBI, the income tax department and the home ministry.
The move comes days after BJP President JP Nadda alleged, in a series of tweets, that the public donations made to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund were diverted to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation during the UPA regime. Others in the BJP have accused the foundation of also accepting huge donations from China for suspected quid-pro-quo with the Beijing government.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi heads both the RGF and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, while son Rahul and daughter Priyanka are trustees of the RGF board.
Sonia Gandhi also oversees affairs of the Indira Gandhi Memorial trust, while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during whose tenure the funds from the PM's relief fund were diverted to the RGF, is also on its board of trustees.
In a reaction to the probe, the Congress chief spokesman tweeted: "The Indian National Congress and its leadership will not be intimidated by the cowardly acts of a spooked Modi Government. Our determination to hold the Government accountable to the people of India will only get strengthened by these desperate actions."
The BJP denied the action smacked of political vendetta with its general secretary, P Muralidhar Rao, asserting that the government would not have waited for six years if politics was behind the probe into the RGF transactions. He said the probe was a "natural outcome" of information brought out in the public domain recently.
In his one of the tweets, Nadda had said: "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....One family's hunger for wealth has cost the nation. If only they had devoted their energies towards a more constructive agenda. The Congress' imperial dynasty needs to apologise to the unchecked loot for self-gains."
The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust's name had also cropped up during an inquiry conducted by the home ministry into the absconding Islamic evangelist Zakir Naik's NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).Sachin Tendulkar inaugurates plasma therapy unit in Mumbai
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