Home ministry panel to investigate financial 'irregularities' in trusts associated with Nehru-Gandhis
The Union home ministry has set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into financial allegations against three trusts associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family at a time Rahul Gandhi has been tormenting the Narendra Modi government with questions on the Chinese incursions and Covid management.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust are being probed in the wake of allegations that they had violated provisions of the Money Laundering Act, Income Tax Act and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which has among its trustees Rahul, Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram. Sonia is also the chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, which has Rahul on the board of trustees. Sonia has been overseeing the work of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust as well.
The Union home ministry, headed by Amit Shah, took the decision close on the heels of a political and media campaign that trusts linked with the Nehru-Gandhis had accepted donations from China years ago.
The campaign lost its sting after it emerged that some think-tanks associated with the Sangh ecosystem had either accepted money from China or entered into agreements with Chinese institutions.
It is against this backdrop — and in keeping with a pattern that has seen enforcement agencies stirring out of stupor just when political opponents speak out against the government — that the home ministry has set up the inter-ministerial committee.
Rahul, who has been firing off one question after the other on China after Prime Minister Modi suggested there was no incursion, tweeted on Wednesday: “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.”
A home ministry spokesperson said a special director of the Enforcement Directorate would head the inter-ministerial team.
“The ministry of home affairs has set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into violation of various legal provisions of the PMLA, the Income Tax Act, the FCRA, etc., by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust. A special director of the Enforcement Directorate will head the committee,” the spokesperson said.
The home ministry has not disclosed the composition of the inter-ministerial committee, nor any specifics on the probe.
A former CBI special director told The Telegraph: “It looks bizarre. The home ministry has not disclosed the two most important things — who is the complainant and what are the specific charges against the three NGOs. Is this how probes are being conducted now?”
A few other recent steps also have been viewed by the Congress as vendetta politics. Among them fall the questioning of Sonia’s long-time aide Ahmed Patel by the ED in connection with a money-laundering case and the notice served on party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate her Delhi bungalow within a month.