National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's son Shaurya has found himself in the eye of a storm after an article in The Wire questioned his alleged conflict of interest in running the think tank India Foundation and having senior ministers as directors.
Shaurya Doval is also the executive director of a firm named Gemini Financial Services, which deals with foreign and domestic investors.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and ministers of state Jayant Sinha and MJ Akbar are among the directors of India Foundation.
According to the article, Boeing was the sponsor for two of the think tank's events. The CBI has initiated an inquiry into the purchase of Boeing aircraft during the UPA era with respect to purchasing 111 aircrafts for the national airlines to benefit foreign aircraft manufacturers. Jayant Sinha, one of the directors of India Foundation is the Minister of State for Civil Aviation.
The article quoted Shaurya Doval as saying that the foundation's revenue comes from conferences, advertisements and its journal. He also claimed that India Foundation's charter does not include 'lobbying or any such related activities.'
The article met with sharp reaction from political opponents of the NDA, with the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party questioning Shaurya Doval over the issue.
शाह-जादा की 'अपार सफलता' के बाद भाजपा की नई पेशकश - अजित शौर्य गाथाhttps://t.co/9YwOp1EoM8
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) November 4, 2017
— Virbhadra Singh (@virbhadrasingh) November 4, 2017
Hope Govt will respond and come out clean !!!! https://t.co/McvxriKU2H
— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) November 3, 2017
Addressing a press conference, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal 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...It is not only a direct conflict of interest," Sibal said.
"This is happening at a time when our Prime Minister Modi says 'na khaunga, na khaane dunga' (I will not engage in corruption, nor will I allow others)," Sibal added.
He also noted that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had resigned as chairperson of the National Advisory Council and again contested elections after allegations of office of profit.
In a statement, India Foundation said the article is without basis, and that the directors concerned have been associated with the organisation long before they became ministers or even Members of Parliament.
"The article in question is speculative and clearly intends to insinuate wrongdoing 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 statement said.
The organisation also denied receiving any foreign funding from any overseas private corporation or individual and said the foundation and its directors have not furthered the commercial or private interests of any company, domestic or foreign.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Nov 04, 2017 05:20 pm | Updated Date: Nov 04, 2017 08:53 pm