Government widens probe into trusts named after Rajiv, Indira

NEW DELHI: The Union home ministry widened the scope of investigations into the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) linked to the Nehru-Gandhi family trusts on Wednesday and announced setting up of an inter-ministerial panel headed by special director of the Enforcement Directorate to probe charges of money laundering and violations of the Income-Tax Act and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

Officials said the probe against one of the three NGOs linked to the Nehru-Gandhi family trusts was initiated in 2017-18 as part the home ministry’s inquiry into the foreign contributions received by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT). The two other NGOs named by the ministry are Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust (IGMT).

The decision to set up the panel, which will include members of the Income Tax Department and the home ministry, comes in the wake of the BJP’s allegations that the RGF had received funds from the Chinese embassy after the Congress accused the NDA government of hiding details of border escalation between the Indian Army and the Chinese army in Ladakh. On June 16, the Congress had slammed the government after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.

A home ministry spokesperson said the ministry has set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into violations of various legal provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Income Tax Act, Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act by the RGF, RGCT and IGMT.

Officials, however, refused to divulge any details regarding the complaint on which the ministry had issued the order to set up the panel.

The move to set up an inquiry panel also comes days after the government cancelled the allotment of a bungalow to Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, following withdrawal of her SPG cover. In November last, the government withdrew SPG cover of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.