PM-CARES Fund accepted Chinese donations, claims Congress

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Updated: June 28, 2020 9:32 PM

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his "18 meetings" with Chinese President Xi Jinping in last six years and asked why he has not yet called China "an aggressor".

The PM-CARES Fund was set up with an objective to deal with any emergency arising due to COVID-19. 

Hitting back at the BJP for raising the issue of funding to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the Congress on Sunday alleged that Chinese firms were contributing to PM-CARES Fund and asked why it was accepting such donations at a time when India and China have been engaged in a tense border standoff. There was no immediate response from the government on the allegations.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his “18 meetings” with Chinese President Xi Jinping in last six years and asked why he has not yet called China “an aggressor”, hours after Modi in his “Mann ki Baat” 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 that China is an aggressor,” Singhvi said.

“What is most worrying and alarming for national security is the fact of donations received by Prime Minister Modi from the Chinese companies in his (seemingly personal) PM-CARES Fund,” Singhvi said at a virtual press conference. “If the Prime Minister of India will compromise 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 the Chinese aggression? Prime Minister Modi needs to answer,” he said.

The PM-CARES Fund was set up in March this year with an objective to deal with any emergency arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, some opposition parties have demanded the donations received by the fund be made public. Singhvi 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, adding 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.” He also accused the PM of “misleading” the nation and serving the “sinister agenda” of the Chinese by claiming that China never intruded into Indian territory, nor is it in occupation of any territory.

Congress leader P Chidambaram too demanded answers from the prime minister and his office on the alleged Chinese donations. “PM-CARES Fund was set up after Chinese intrusions into Depsang (2013), Chumar (2014) and Doklam (2017). Why did the PM accept funds from Chinese-owned funds, one of which has a deep connection with the Chinese Army, the PLA?

“In 2005, India-China relations were good and efforts were being made to improve them. If a donation in 2005 was wrong, how much more wrong was accepting donations after 2013-17,” he asked. He said Chinese troops began incursions into Ladakh in March-April 2020 and asked, “Does it require great intelligence to discern China’s motives.” “China lulled India into complacency by Jhoola diplomacy and Chinese money. Was it not an abject failure on the part of the Modi government,” he asked.

Singhvi demanded that Modi should tell how much has China intruded into Indian territory and how many posts and land it has occupied. “The PM should say we are not going to compromise and we will push China back,” he said, adding the whole country will stand behind him if he does so.

Paying tributes to the 20 army men killed in the faceoff with Chinese troops on June 15, Modi in his radio broadcast said, “Those who cast an evil eye on Indian soil in Ladakh have got a befitting response. India honours the spirit of friendship. It is also capable of giving an appropriate response to any adversary without shying away.”

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in his 33 minutes of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the PM did not even name China once. “Why is the PM so scared of China? “Time for Delhi to reset its strategic calculus. Time to shed the fears, be bold and tactical and adopt a strategic response to decisively repulse the Chinese intrusions,” he said on Twitter.

The Congress has been accusing Modi of “misleading” the country on Chinese incursions and the border stand-off in Ladakh. On the other hand, the BJP has turned the heat on Congress by accusing it of receiving money in Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, of which Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson, from China.

Singhvi said reports suggest PM-CARES Fund has received Rs 9,678 crore by May 20. He did not specify any report.
He alleged Huawei donated Rs 7 crore, TikTok Rs 30 crore, Paytm Rs 100 crore, Xiomi Rs 15 crore and Oppo Rs 1 crore to the fund. “Does Huawei have a direct connection with People’s Liberation Army, China” he asked.

Singhvi also alleged that money has been diverted from PM-CARES Fund. “The fund is not even subjected to audit by any public authority including CAG,” he said, adding the PMO has gone to the extent of saying this fund is not a public authority. PM-CARES Fund is not even subjected to RTI, he said, alleging the fund “appears to be solely run by the prime minister in an opaque and secret fashion with zero transparency and zero accountability”. Singhvi said “a delusional Modi government continues to sidestep” the brazen Chinese transgressions.

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