PM Cares fund received funds from Chinese firms, says CongUpdated: Jun 28, 2020, 23:26 IST
The Congress on Sunday hit back at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for raising the issue of funding of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, alleging that the PM Cares Fund was accepting donations from Chinese firms when the armies of the two countries were engaged in a border standoff in Ladakh.
Addressing a virtual news conference, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “18 meetings” with Chinese President Xi Jinping in last six years and asked why he has not yet called China “an aggressor”. “I implore the Prime Minister to say China is an aggressor,” he said.
“What is most worrying and alarming for national security is the fact of donations received by Prime Minister Modi from the Chinese companies in his (seemingly personal) PM CARES Fund,” he added.
“If the Prime Minister will compromise his position by accepting donations of hundreds of crores from Chinese companies in the controversial and opaque fund, how will he defend the country against the Chinese aggression? Prime Minister Modi needs to answer,” Singhvi said.
Over the past few days, the Bharatiya Janata Party has released details of contributions made to RGF by various state-owned companies, government departments, and the Chinese embassy. RGF is a private trust while the PM CARES Fund was set up in March this year to deal with any emergency arising due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has already funded the purchase of around 50,000 ventilators by government hospitals across India.
One of the allegations against the Congress, aired repeatedly by various BJP leaders over the past few days, is that the contributions made by the Chinese embassy and the Chinese government to the private trust controlled by the Gandhi family encouraged the party-led United Progressive Alliance government to turn a blind eye to India’s soaring trade deficit with China.
The charges and counter charges have come against the backdrop of the stand-off between the two armies in Eastern Ladakh, where, on June 15, 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in countering a transgression by the Chinese. An unknown number of Chinese soldiers also died in the incident.
Singhvi alleged that it was the BJP that has maintained ties with the Communist Party of China (CPC) since 2007 and its presidents, starting with Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Amit Shah, have had the maximum number of exchanges with China.
“There is no political party in India’s history whose presidents have had so much contact with China in the last 13 years,” he claimed.
Giving details, Singhvi said Singh had interactions with the CPC in January 2007 and October 2008, Gadkari in January 2011 went on a five-day official visit to China and Shah sent a large delegation of MLAs at a “party school” gathering of CPC in early 2014.
Singhvi said reports suggest the PM CARES Fund has received Rs 9,678 crore by May 20. The Congress spokesperson alleged Huawei has donated Rs 7 crore, TikTok Rs 30 crore, Paytm Rs 100 crore, Xiaomi Rs 15 crore and Oppo Rs 1 crore to the fund. HT couldn’t independently ascertain this.
“Does Huawei have a direct connection with People’s Liberation Army, China? Has the Chinese company owning TikTok facilitated a donation of Rs 30 crore to the controversial PM CARES Fund?” he asked.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram, too, targeted the government. “PM-CARES fund was set up on 28-03-2020. Chinese-owned companies donated money from that date. Chinese troops began incursions into Ladakh in March-April 2020. Does it require great intelligence to discern China’s motives?” he asked.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao reacted sharply to the allegations. “The Congress party, facing stinging criticism from the media and the public for acting as the Indian propaganda arm of China in lieu of apparent kickbacks received in Sonia Gandhi family run foundations, is evading answers to serious questions and instead has come up with silly counters,” he said.
“Nation wants an unconditional apology from the Gandhis for the family’s treasonous actions. The Modi government has taken a series of actions against Chinese investments and projects and has signalled its intent. The Gandhi family integrity is under question and running away from questions will not erase the taint.”