Soon after the Supreme Court turned down a plea that money in the PM-CARES fund be transferred to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), the BJP attacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and his party while bringing up the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation issue.
"So far, Rs 3,100 crore has been given from the PM-CARES fund to fight coronavirus. Of this, Rs 2,000 crore has been given for ventilators," senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a press conference at the party headquarters here.
Making a comparison with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation issue, he said: "In a report prepared by the Foundation, it was said that to improve the India-China relations, it is necessary to open up India's markets to that country", pointing to the alleged quid pro quo in the matter.
Prasad said that another Rs 1,000 crore from PM-CARES (Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) fund was given to the states for migrant labourers, claiming that Rs 100 crore went for corona vaccine research.
"The PM-CARES is a registered public trust, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is designed (for use) for emergency situations like COVID-19," he clarified.
"The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is a family foundation. You know that it got help from China too. In the report of that foundation, there was talk of opening India's markets for Chinese products."
Rubbishing Rahul Gandhi's charge of "improbity", Prasad said: "The Modi government has been working with honesty; it has the blessings of the public. The same honesty is also reflected in the PM-CARES fund."
He claimed that India had been a success in the fight against coronavirus, pointing to the recovery rate of above 70%. "Rahul Gandhi has tried to break the unity of the country in its fight against coronavirus from day one."
"The Prime Minister had said that all should clap in honour of Corona Warriors like doctors, nurses, sweepers, and police. Rahul Gandhi even mocked that," the senior BJP leader said.
Earlier, BJP President JP Nadda also hit out at Rahul Gandhi for his attack on the PM-CARES fund saying it was a "nefarious design".
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO, had petitioned the apex court for transferring money from the PM-CARES fund to the NDRF, which the SC declined.
The PM Cares Fund was set up in March 2020 to receive contributions for extending succour in emergency situations.