NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday hit out at the BJP citing a news report which alleged a "prospect of conflict of interest" in National Security Adviser Ajit Doval's son Shaurya running an organisation that has some Union ministers on its board.
"Shah-zada ki apaar safalta ke baad, BJP ki nayi peshkash -- Ajit Shaurya gatha (After the 'grand success' of 'Shah- Zada', BJP's new presentation -- the tale of Ajit Shaurya)," Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
The news report has alleged that Doval's son has a "prospect of conflict of interest" in running the think-tank, India Foundation, as Shaurya Doval is a partner in a financial services firm, the think-tank has some top ministers as directors and it relies on financial support from foreign and Indian corporates some of which have dealings with the government.
"The India Foundation's opaque financials, the presence of senior ministers as directors and the fact that executive director Shaurya Doval's day job is running Gemini Financial Services -- a firm that specialises in 'transactions and capital flows between the OECD and the emerging Asian economies' -- also raise the prospect of conflict of interest and lobbying," the media report said.
Congress also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should fire the four Union ministers who are directors in the organisation and demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.
"Prime Minister Modi should fire all the four ministers who are on the board of the India Foundation. We want to ask Modiji when he will fire them," senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal told reporters.
Responding to The Wire's article, the India Foundation said the report suggesting conflict of interest between the Foundation and its Directors is without basis.
Here's India Foundation's response:
The article in The Wire dated November 4, 2017 by Ms Swati Chaturvedi suggesting conflict of interest between the Foundation and its Directors is without basis.
The article in question is speculative and clearly intends to insinuate wrong-doing where there is none.It strikes a maleficent tone without any basis other than surmise. The India Foundation deplores the surmises and innuendos used to attack its legacy, reputation and credibility.
The India Foundation is a premier organisation with a track record of consistent work in nation building and building cultural and social awareness of the potential of the country, since 2009.
The directors concerned have been associated with the India Foundation long before they became Ministers or even Members of Parliament.
In a democracy, think tanks which provide a platform for the exchange and evolution of ideas play an important role. The India Foundation has already clarified that lobbying is not and has never been a part of its agenda. Lobbying which has been the bane of this country, is the kind undertaken in the shadows and back rooms and not in public forums.
It is clarified and reiterated that:
1. No foreign funding has ever been received by the Foundation from any overseas private corporation or individual.
2. The Foundation and its Directors have not furthered the commercial or private interests of any company, domestic or foreign. The agenda of its meetings are concerned with culture, geo-politics, and macro-economics such as the investment climate in India and development of the North East.
3. The Foundation is in complete compliance with all statutory requirements and the activities of the Foundation which are public and transparent, faithfully adhere to its charter.