The decision of the Union government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to investigate whether three trusts linked to the Congress’ national leadership have violated laws related to money laundering, income tax and foreign funding is welcome.
The committee probing the affairs of the trusts — Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF), the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) and the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust (IGMT) — will be headed by a special director of the enforcement directorate and will have officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The committee will make a preliminary inquiry and if it is found that there are irregularities, then the agency concerned will take the investigation further, according to reports.
The BJP recently brought the three trusts to the focus with its president J.P. Nadda and Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleging that the Congress pushed for a free trade agreement with China when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was in power to repay the reported Chinese contribution of $3,00,000 to RGF in 2005-06. Mr Nadda even saw a link between the Congress stand on the border skirmishes and the donation.
It is interesting to note that those at the helm of the NDA dispensation smelled foul only when the principal Opposition party asked uncomfortable questions on the border developments, including the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
The Congress’ allegation that the investigation is an attempt to intimidate its leaders into silence over the government policy on the border has merit but the party must utilise it as an opportunity to come clean on the issue and deny the ruling party a chance to use it as a ruse next time.
All that the Congress, as well as those who believe in democracy, must ensure is that the investigation does not degenerate into a process to harass the Opposition.