BJP speaking half-truths: Chidambaram on RGF-Chinese fund allegations

Asks if RGF returns Rs 20 lakh, will PM assure China will vacate its transgression

43-PChidambaram [File] Former Home Minister and Congress Leader P. Chidambaram | Sanjay Ahlawat

Congress leader P. Chidambaram hit out at BJP President J.P. Nadda on Saturday over allegations of impropriety in the transfer of Rs 20 lakh from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation in 2005, during the Congress-led Manmohan Singh government. "BJP President Mr Nadda specialises in speaking half-truths. My colleague Mr Randeep Surjewala exposed his half truths yesterday. Mr Nadda, come to terms with reality, don’t live in the past that is distorted by your half-truths. Please answer our questions on Chinese intrusion into Indian territory," Chidambaram posted in a series of tweets. 

"Suppose RGF returns the Rs 20 lakh, will PM Modi assure the country that China will vacate its transgression and restore status quo ante?" the former Union minister further asked. 

Chidambaram also reminded the BJP chief that the money had been used for "tsunami relief work in the Andaman and Nicobar" and urged him to "come to terms with reality" and focus on answering questions over "Chinese incursions into Indian territory". "Why is the BJP hiding the fact that 20 million rupees received by the RGF (Rajiv Gandhi Foundation) from the PM National Relief Fund in 2005 were for tsunami relief work in Andaman and Nicobar?" Chidambaram asked in a series of tweets.

The Congress had on Friday said 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, and the money the NGO received from China was used for the welfare of differently-abled people and research on Sino-India relations.

"Diversion, disinformation and distraction are the diabolical hallmarks of the BJP and Modi government when exposed and caught lying on issues of national security and territorial integrity," Congress's chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, said in a statement on Friday. He said Nadda and the Narendra Modi government keep referring to a 2005 grant of Rs 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.