Congress leader P Chidambaram has hit out at BJP President JP Nadda for speaking "semi-truths" after allegations of impropriety in the transfer of Rs 20 lakh from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) in 2005, during the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government.
Accusing the BJP of asking "frivolous questions", Mr Chidambaram asked: "Suppose RGF returns Rs 20 lakh, will PM Modi assure the country that China will clear encroachments and restore status quo?", referring to allegations the Chinese embassy was funding the Congress via donations to the RGF.
"Anybody with common sense knows think tanks function on the basis of grants and endowments. As long as the foundation is compliant with FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) and has submitted audited accounts, which the government has accepted, it is the end of the matter," Mr Chidambaram told NDTV on Friday night.
This morning Mr Chidambaram also hit out at BJP President JP Nadda, reminding the BJP chief that the money had been used for "tsunami relief work in the Andaman and Nicobar" and urged him to "come to terms with reality" and focus on answering questions over "Chinese incursions into Indian territory".
"BJP President JP Nadda is speaking in semi-truths. Why is the BJP hiding the fact that 20 million rupees received by the RGF (Rajiv Gandhi Foundation) from the PM National Relief Fund in 2005 were for tsunami relief work in Andaman and Nicobar?" P Chidambaram asked in a series of tweets.
"(and) what does the grant of RGF 15 years ago have to do with infiltration of Indian territory in 2020 under the supervision of the Modi government?" he continued, referring to Chinese incursions into eastern Ladakh this month.
On Friday the BJP followed up its claims with Mr Nadda releasing papers he said were proof the Congress had pushed for a regional trade agreement favourable to China, referring to this as "economic surrender" after Rahul Gandhi, last week, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi "Surender" Modi.
This particular episode of an ongoing verbal spat between the Congress and the BJP started two days ago, with the BJP counter-attacking as the Congress hammered them with questions about the violence in Ladakh on June 15 and the India-China border stand-off.
The Congress has rubbished the allegations, calling them a "diabolical" attempt at diverting focus from the China crisis.
"Diabolical game of deception, diversion and disinformation is being played out by BJP and JP Nadda to divert attention of the country from Chinese occupation of Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso and now Depsang up to the Y-junction, 18 km inside the LAC," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
"This is the greatest disservice the BJP and PM are doing to the country. Instead of fighting China and defending our country, they are fighting the Congress and undermining India's territorial integrity," he said.