Chidambaram hits out at Nadda for speaking ‘half-truths’ on funds received by RGF

P Chidambaram asked J P Nadda to answer his questions on China’s intrusion into India, “come to terms with reality”, and not live in the past that was “distorted by half-truths”

P Chidambaram put out two images of the India-China border taken on May 22, 2020 and June 22, 2020 to point out the increase in activity by China along the border. File photo: PTI

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday (June 27) hit out at the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, accusing BJP President J P Nadda of speaking “half-truths” regarding the ₹20 lakh received by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) from the PM National Relief Fund in 2005.

Chidambaram questioned the reason behind the BJP “hiding the fact” that the ₹20 lakh had actually been for tsunami relief work in Andaman and Nicobar during the Manmohan Singh-led Congress rule.

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Taking to Twitter, the former finance minister said, “Why is the BJP hiding the fact that the Rs 20 lakhs received by RGF from PM National Relief Fund in 2005 was for tsunami relief work in Andaman & Nicobar? And that every rupee was spent for the purpose and accounted for?”

Chidambaram also went on to ask why the grant given to the RGF 15 years ago was being brought up now amid the current Chinese intrusion into Indian territory in 2020.

“What has the grant to RGF 15 years ago got to do with China’s intrusion into Indian territory in 2020 under the watch of the Modi government?” he asked on Twitter.

He also took a dig at the BJP, wondering whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would assure India that China would “vacate its transgression” if the RGF returned the ₹20 lakh it had received.

“Suppose RGF returns the Rs 20 lakh, will PM Modi assure the country that China will vacate its transgression and restore status quo ante?” he questioned on Twitter.

He concluded by asking Nadda to answer the questions on China’s intrusion into India, “come to terms with reality”, and not live in the past that was “distorted by half-truths”.

Nadda had alleged that the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) had donated money to the “family-run” RGF when the Congress-led UPA was in power, claiming that it was a “brazen fraud” and big betrayal of the people of the country.

The BJP chief had targeted the Congress and the Gandhi family on Thursday (June 25) for the RGF allegedly accepting donations from the Chinese embassy.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had late on Friday (June 26) night come out with a statement, saying the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) issue raised by the BJP government was a “manufactured charge” and “diversionary tactic” to deflect attention from the LAC crisis.

He said the money the NGO received from China was used for the welfare of differently-abled people and research on the Sino-India relations. “Diversion, disinformation and distraction are the diabolical hallmarks of the BJP and the Modi government when exposed and caught lying on issues of national security and territorial integrity,” Surjewala had said.

He said Nadda and the Modi government keep referring to a 2005 grant of ₹1.45 crore received by the RGF from the Embassy of China for the purpose of a welfare programme for differently-abled people and research on Sino-India relationships.

“This grant was used for the purposes specified. RGF accounts were duly audited and statutory returns filed under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) to the government of India. This grant has been duly reflected in all filings to the Income-Tax department and home ministry and no authority has ever found any wrongdoing of any nature,” Surjewala said.

He also said pursuant to the unprecedented tsunami in the last week of 2004, the foundation received a “modest” amount of ₹20 lakh from the PMNRF in financial year 2005, which was duly utilised to undertake relief activities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Meanwhile, in a separate tweet, the senior Congress leader also put out two images of the India-China border taken on May 22, 2020 and June 22, 2020 respectively, with the caption, “Spot the differences between May 22 and June 22, 2020 on the INDIA-CHINA border,” to point out the increase in activity by China along the border.

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