The Congress party, facing a barrage of criticism for the special equation that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation had with Chinese companies, hit back on Sunday with a vengeance, alleging that funds from Chinese firms have poured into PM Cares Fund also.
National spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi picked up the gauntlet on behalf of his party and also harped on PM Modi’s 18 meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the last six years and asked why he has not yet called China "an aggressor."
The onslaught came hours after PM 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 that donations were received by PM Modi from Chinese companies in his (seemingly personal) PM Cares Fund," Singhvi said in a virtual press conference.
"If the Prime Minister of India compromises 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 Chinese aggression?’’ the Congress leader demanded.
The PM cares Fund was set up in March this year, ostensibly to meet any contingency 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. Rajnath Singh had interactions with the 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 for this government, it seems, national security is not important. "What is important for it is 'I, Me, Myself' and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation."
Singhvi named Chinese firms like Huawei, TikTok and Xiomi among those which have contributed to the controversial fund. He also wanted to know whether Huawei has a direct connection with the People's Liberation Army. He also put a question mark over donations in crores to the Fund by Paytm, which has a 38% Chinese ownership.
Donations to the PM CARES fund for COVID-19 is not the same as donations for a private organisation like the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation controlled by Sonia Gandhi and her family, it was pointed out.
The Congress also alleged that PM Cares is run like a "seemingly personal" fund which is not even subjected to audit by any public authority, or the Right to Information Act.
"All in all, the Fund appears to be solely run by the Prime Minister in an opaque and secret fashion with zero transparency and zero accountability," alleged the party, which was accused of receiving funds from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in 2005-2006.