In a fresh attack days after being accused for accepting Chinese funds for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the Congress on Sunday (June 28) alleged that the PM CARES Fund received funds from Chinese firms, and asked why it was accepting such donations at a time when the two countries have been engaged in a tense border standoff at Ladakh.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi on Sunday said reports suggest that the fund has received ₹9,678 crore by May 20, but did not specify any particular report. He also alleged that Huawei has donated ₹7 crore, TikTok ₹30 crore, Paytm ₹100 crore, Xiaomi ₹15 crore and Oppo ₹1 crore to the controversial fund.
“The shocking part is that though Chinese forces have transgressed into our territory, Prime Minister has received money in the Fund from Chinese companies… Will Prime Minister answer why has he received Chinese money into the Fund despite the overt Chinese hostilities in the year 2013,” Singhvi asked.
“Does Huawei have a direct connection with People’s Liberation Army, China? Has the Chinese company owning TikTok facilitated a donation of ₹30 crore to the controversial PM CARES Fund,” he asked. Singhvi also alleged that money has been diverted from PM Cares Fund, noting that no one knows how it is controlled or money given to it is utilised.
“The fund is not even subjected to audit by any public authority including CAG,” he said, adding that the PMO has gone to the extent of saying this fund is not a public authority. The fund is not even subjected to RTI, he said alleging that it “appears to be solely run by the PM in an opaque and secret fashion with zero transparency and zero accountability.”
The Congress has been accusing Modi of “misleading” India on Chinese incursions and the border stand-off in Ladakh, citing experts who say China has occupied Indian territory and posts. On the other hand, the BJP had slammd the Congress by accusing it of receiving money in the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation from China.
Singhvi further questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “18 meetings” with Chinese President Xi Jinping in last six years and asked that why he has not yet called China “an aggressor”, hours after Modi in his radio broadcast asserted that India has given a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on its territory in Ladakh.
“I implore the prime minister to say China is an aggressor,” Singhvi 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,” Singhvi said a virtual press conference.
“If the Prime Minister of India 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,” he said.
The PM CARES Fund was set up in March this year with an objective to deal with any emergency arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, some opposition parties have demanded the donations received by the fund be made public.
Singhvi also alleged that the BJP has maintained ties with the Communist Party of China 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, adding that Singh had interactions with 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 that for this government, it seems national security is not important. “What is important for it is ‘I, Me, Myself’ and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.” The spokesperson also demanded that the prime minister must say that “China has intruded into Indian territory” and has occupied posts and land.
“The PM should say we are not going to compromise and we will push China back,” Singhvi said, adding the whole country, including the Opposition, will stand behind him if does so.
Paying tributes to the 20 Indian Army soldiers killed in the violent clashes with Chinese troops on June 15 in Galwan Valley, Modi, in his radio broadcast, said that India’s brave soldiers showed they will not allow the nation’s pride to be hurt.
“Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship. It is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary without shying away,” the prime minister said, without naming China.
(With inputs from agencies)