New Delhi: The Union Minister of Finance Dr Manmohan Singh announced an allocation of Rs 100 crores to be dispersed over a period of five-years to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) on July 24th 1991. Interestingly, RGF was formed a month before on June 21, 1991.
Rajiv Gandhi along with 14 innocent people lost their lives on May 21, 1991 in a dreaded terror attack.
Not withstanding the grief, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation is formed exactly a month after the death of the Rajiv Gandhi, on June 21, 1991. Sonia Gandhi takes charge of the Foundation.
Then shockingly one-month and three days after the formation of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation on July 24, 1991, Dr Manmohan Singh who was the then Union Minister of Finance of the Congress government at the Centre sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation to be given over of period of five-years. Rs 20 crore per year to the Sonia Gandhi run-foundation.
In his speech, Dr Manmohan Singh stated, “The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has been established to perpetuate the memory of the great leader and to promote the ideals and objectives for which he lived and laid down his life.
This Foundation, among other things, will lay particular emphasis on research and action programmes relating to the application of science and technology for development, propagation of literacy, the protection of the environment, the promotion of communal harmony and integration, the uplift of the under-privileged, women and handicapped persons, administrative reforms and India’s role in the global economy.
As a homage to the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi and in support of the laudable objectives of the Foundation, Government has decided to contribute Rs 100 crore to the Foundation at the rate of Rs 20 crores per annum for a period of five years beginning from the current year.”
The decision of the Indian government ruled by the Congress raises serious questions on the principles of fairness applied by Dr Manmohan Singh as the then Finance Minister to arrive at a decision to entrust Rs 100 crores of taxpayers money into the hands of foundation formed one-month and three days prior to the Budget announcement.
The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation had no proven track record of work or successes. So under what guidelines of the government were taxpayers funds allowed to be donated to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
The Union Budget was to also keep aside another Rs 250 crores if the 100 crores were not enough. The section 58 of the budget document read, “Pending determination of the exact amounts that will be necessary for each of these new initiatives, a lump sum provision of Rs.250 crores has been included in the plan outlay of the Ministry of Finance.”
The funding plan was withdrawn due to uproar in Parliament. RGF even wrote a letter to the Finance Ministry declining the donations.
Chandra Jeet Yadav – a member of Parliament, raised questions, stating “We are discussing the Budget of the country and the discussion is going on. The Government cannot take this kind of a most casual approach to allot the money of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and then withdraw it. From this, it appears, as if the Foundation is the master of the Budget of this country. The moment a letter comes from the Foundation, the Finance Minister comes before the House and makes a statement. I do not know whether he is speaking on behalf of Cabinet. Also, I do not know whether the Government had an opportunity to discuss it or not. This is not the way to deal with the Parliament of this country, which is the master of running the financial affairs of this country.”
Investigations will also reveal that prime land in New Delhi would have been allowed to the RGF by the Congress-led government without a cost.