The long list of donations made to the Gandhi Family controlled Rajiv Gandhi Foundation seems to have opened a can of worms for the Congress party. After the links of the Chinese Communist Party emerged, the foundation receiving huge monetary benefits from the Chinese government had created a political storm.
Yesterday, it was revealed that even the Chinese government had made donations to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. Now, another explosive detail has emerged.
In a tweet, lawyer and TV panellist Shahzad Poonawallah has shared that as India’s Finance Minister in 1991-92, Manmohan Singh had tried to allocate a sum of Rs 100 crores from the Union Budget to the Sonia Gandhi-headed Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, to be donated over a period of five years, and it was stalled only after a huge uproar.
The archived records of the Indian parliament’s discussion of the Union Budget in 1991-92 shows a section when, after the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh allocated a sum of Rs 100 crores to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, there was a huge uproar from the opposition parties who questioned that how can the Congress-run government allocate funds for a foundation headed by the Gandhi family.
Not just 100 crores, Manmohan Singh kept aside 250 crores ‘if further needed’
The Union budget document of 1991-92 made by Manmohan Singh also had another provision. It stated that a sum of Rs 100 crores will be donated to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation over the period of 5 years. The amount was to fund the initiatives of “Research and action programmes relating to the application of science and technology for development, propagation of literacy, the protection of the environment, the promotion of communal harmony and national integration, the uplift of the under-privileged, women and handicapped persons, administrative reforms and India’s role in the global economy.”
The Union Budget was to also keep aside another Rs 250 crores if the 100 crores were not enough. The section 58 of the budget document read, “Pending determination of the exact amounts that will be necessary for each of these new initiatives, a lump sum provision of Rs.250 crores has been included in the plan outlay of the Ministry of Finance.”
Stopped after huge political uproar
In the subsequent discussions that followed, Manmohan Singh had read a letter from the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, that stated that the Foundation appreciates the generous sum but it thinks that the government should itself invest the funds in suitable projects.
To Manmohan Singh’s response that it is the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation which had generously declined to take the huge sum, (after a massive political controversy), Janata Dal MP from Azamgarh Chandra Jeet Yadav had lambasted Manmohan Singh.
Chandra Jeet Yadav had questioned whether Manmohan represents the cabinet of the Gandhi family in parliament
Yadav had stated that the Finance Minister is dealing with the budget very casually. He had added, “We are discussing the Budget of the country and the discussion is going on. The Government cannot take this kind of a most casual approach to allot the money of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and then withdraw it. From this, it appears, as if the Foundation is the master of the Budget of this country. The moment a letter comes from the Foundation, the Finance Minister comes before the House and makes a statement. I do not know whether he is speaking on behalf of Cabinet. Also, I do not know whether the Government had an opportunity to discuss it or not. This is not the way to deal with the Parliament of this country, which is the master of running the financial affairs of this country.”
Yadav had even gone to the extent of questioning whether Manmohan Singh was speaking on behalf of the cabinet as the finance minister of the country or he is representing the Congress royal family. He had even stated that from the behaviour of Manmohan Singh, it appears as if the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is the ‘master of the budget’.
Rajiv Gandhi Foundation
OpIndia had earlier reported that according to a document available on Chinese Embassy in India website, the then Chinese Ambassador to India to India Sun Yuxi had donated Rs 10 lakhs to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which has links to the Congress party and is run by Congress leaders.
It has been found that the Chinese government had donated to the Foundation multiple times. It has also een found that soon after the Foundation received huge donations from the Chinese government, it went a step further and studied the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement between India and China.
PMNRF under Congress govt donated to RGF
As disclosed in the Annual Reports, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received donations from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Funds not once but multiple times. The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation which is chaired by Sonia Gandhi, has Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram listed as trustees.
In the year 2005-2006, the Annual Report makes a disclosure that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received a donation from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The same disclosure is also made in the 2006-2007 report. Again in 2007-2008, the Foundation for a ‘donation’ from the PMNRF.