Amid the ongoing war of words between the Centre and Opposition Congress over Chinese money in Indian organisations, the government has opened another front by setting up a committee to probe alleged financial violations by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and other Congress foundations. The Congress trusts under government radar are Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
India Today, citing sources, said the probe committee, headed by Special Director of Enforcement Directorate, will primarily focus on money laundering, manipulation in declaration and filing of Income Tax and foreign money angles. "An inter-ministerial committee has been set up to coordinate investigations into violation of various legal provisions of PMLA, Income Tax Act, FCRA etc by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust & Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust," a home ministry note said.
The investigations regarding FCRA and PMLA violations, and tax evasion and fund diversion will be carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department, respectively.
Sonia Gandhi is the chairman of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which was set up on June 21, 1991. The other trustees of the organisations are Dr Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Suman Dubey, Rahul Gandhi, Dr Ashok Ganguly, Sanjiv Goenka and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), a not-for-profit organisation, was set up in 2002 and has both Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi as its board members. The organisation works in the area of the rural development of underprivileged.
The probe against the Congress trusts comes days after the Congress party raised objections over Chinese firms contributing to the PM CARES Fund. The party had asked why the government was accepting such donations while India and China are engaged in a tense border standoff in Ladakh.
The PM CARES Fund was set up in March this year with an objective to deal with any emergency arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, some opposition parties have demanded the donations received by the fund be made public.
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