Bharatiya Janata Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the PM CARES Fund. He said the judgement was a “resounding blow to the nefarious designs” of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. His comments came hours after the court ruled that the PM CARES Fund cannot be directed to be deposited or transferred to the National Disaster Relief Fund.
PM CARES – an acronym for Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations – is a fund set up by the Centre with the stated objective of being a “dedicated national fund” to deal with “any kind of emergency or distress situation”. The fund was announced by Narendra Modi in March the wake of the ongoing crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a series of tweets, the BJP chief hit out at Gandhi and his band of “rent of cause activists”, asking if he would change his ways. “Rahul Gandhi’s rants have been repeatedly dismissed by the common man who has overwhelmingly contributed to PM CARES,” he tweeted. “With the highest court also pronouncing its verdict, will Rahul & his ‘rent a cause’ activist army mend their ways or embarrass themselves further?”
Nadda further accused the Gandhi family of misusing the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund by transferring the money in the fund to its trusts. The country very well knows that the orchestrated smear campaign against PM CARES is an attempt by the Congress to wash its sins, he said.
On Monday, Gandhi had tweeted “PMCares for Right To Improbity” tagging a news report that said the prime minister’s office had denied a Right to Information plea seeking information on PM CARES. The office had cited the diversion of resources clause to deny the plea.
Union minister Piyush Goyal too took a jibe at the Congress, saying its “misinformation campaign” comes to an end.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that money was transferred from the National Disaster Relief Fund to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, News18 reported. The BJP had earlier alleged that donations to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation were made in 2005-’06, adding that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was the chairperson then.
On July 8, the Ministry of Home Affairs had said that it has set up an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate investigations into alleged violations of the law by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
“Rahul Gandhi questioned PM Cares Fund but the Supreme Court has shot down all his arguments,” Prasad said on Tuesday. “PM CARES is a registered public trust for Covid-like emergencies. Gandhi has never missed an opportunity to weaken resolve of the nation in its fight against the virus.” The Union minister also defended the Centre and said that the National Democratic Alliance was an honest government.
Earlier in the day during the hearing on a bunch of petitions seeking to transfer funds from PM CARES to the National Disaster Relief Fund to help tackle the coronavirus crisis, the court said there was no need for a fresh national disaster relief plan for the pandemic.
The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah also said that no institutions and individual can be prohibited to make contributions to the PM CARES Fund. The court clarified that the Centre will be free to transfer funds to NDRF as it deems appropriate.