Home Ministry cancels FCRA licences of NGOs headed by Sonia Gandhi

The action came following investigations carried out by an inter-Ministerial committee formed by the Union Home Ministry in 2020

October 23, 2022 11:27 am | Updated 11:38 pm IST - New Delhi:

 Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust. Photo: rgfindia.org

Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust. Photo: rgfindia.org

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled the FCRA registration of two NGOs headed by former Congress president Sonia Gandhi owing to irregularities, a senior government official said on October 23, 2022. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are also associated with the NGOs.

Registration under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act is mandatory to receive foreign funds. The cancellation makes the two NGOs ineligible to receive foreign funds.

Ms. Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), the two non-government organisations (NGOs) whose FCRA registration has been cancelled.

After the June 15, 2020 Galwan incident when 20 soldiers were killed in clashes with the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) when Rahul Gandhi sharpened his attack accusing the government of surrendering territory to China, the ruling BJP had accused the two Congress-linked NGOs of receiving foreign funds from the Chinese government in 2005-06. The MHA constituted an inter-Ministerial probe committee on July 8, 2020 to probe the allegations.

Two years after the committee was formed, the MHA recently cancelled the registration of the two NGOs.

"There were several irregularities by the two NGOs in the way the FCRA registration was being used, following the probe, the registration was cancelled," the official said. The annual returns filed in December 2021 show that the NGOs did not receive any foreign donation in fiscal 2020-21 but the account balance stood at ₹11.5 crore for the RGCT and ₹13.5 crore for the RGF.

The RGCT, a registered, not-for-profit organisation, was established in 2002 and is located at Jawahar Bhawan at Rajendra Prasad Road, a prime location in central Delhi. Ms. Gandhi is the chairperson of the Trust and Rahul Gandhi is a member of the Board. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the biggest donors to RGCT.

The RGF was set up in 1991. Ms. Sonia Gandhi is the chairperson, and the Board of Trustees include former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Suman Dubey, Rahul Gandhi, Dr. Ashok Ganguly and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. It is also located at Jawahar Bhavan.

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