Hours after the government announced an investigation into alleged financial irregularities involving three Gandhi family-linked trusts, Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said "those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated." The Congress said its leadership would not be intimidated by "cowardly acts and a blind witch-hunt" by the "panicked" government.
"Mr Modi believes the world is like him. He thinks every one has a price or can be intimidated. He will never understand that those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
An inter-ministerial committee will coordinate investigations into alleged violation of income tax and foreign donation rules by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, the home ministry said on Wednesday.
The Congress described it as the BJP's "wild and insidious hatred" of the Congress leadership. "Facing a barrage of questions on (i) blatant compromise of India's security interests and territorial integrity, (ii) a shocking mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis which continues to devour lives and livelihood on a daily basis and (iii) unable to arrest the economic recession wreaking havoc on the life of every Indian citizen; a desperate Modi-Shah Government has fallen back on a devious hounding of those exposing its ineptitude by ordering a wholly vicious and vengeful investigation of the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust," said the opposition party.
The Congress said the trusts were involved in humanitarian work and distinguished service and would withstand any vengeful and roving enquiry.
"Every day, a new conspiracy is crafted by the delusional BJP leadership so as to spread disinformation, distraction and diversion to bury the apparent incompetence and complete failure of the Modi Government. BJP leadership is also scared of the questions being asked on its deep-rooted Chinese connections, unexplained donations to the PM's fund by Chinese Entities and continued promotion of Chinese-owned businesses," the party said.
It went on to ask six questions that included whether the government would look into donations received from Chinese entities into the PM-Cares fund.
The Congress also questioned whether the government would inquire into donations received by the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
"Will the Modi Government order an enquiry into the nearly 500% increase in income and donations to the BJP from Rs. 570.86 Crores (in 2015-2016) to Rs. 2410 crores (in 2018-2019)? Let BJP and Modi Government not bury their abject failures in defending our borders, fighting Covid-19, tackling a devastating economic recession, or avoiding answers to the questions," said the Congress.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation was set up in June 1991 and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust in 2002; both are headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The BJP said the investigation is a "natural" outcome of information brought out in the public domain recently. "These transactions are in the public domain...Our government is committed to transparency. It is natural to investigate these transactions after so much information was recently brought out in public domain," BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said.
Last month, the ruling party accused the Congress of "brazen fraud", alleging that when it was in power, the Manmohan Singh government donated money from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
The BJP also alleged that the foundation had received funds from the Chinese Embassy in 2005, as a counter to daily attacks from the Congress and Rahul Gandhi on the June 15 border clash with China.