Doval’s Son Rubbishes The Wire’s Claims of “Conflict of Interest”
A day after news website The Wire alleged in an article that the India Foundation, a think-tank run by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval’s son Shaurya Doval, has “conflict of interest writ large”, the Foundation came up with a response, in retaliation to the claims made.
A statement published on the Foundation’s website said that The Wire’s claims were unfounded.
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 statement published on India Foundation’s home page
The statement said that the directors mentioned in the article were members of the Foundation long before they were made Ministers.
Finally, the statement sought to 'clarify and reiterate' that no foreign funding had been received by the Foundation; the directors had not “furthered the commercial or private interests of any company, domestic or foreign”; and that the Foundation was in compliance with all statutory requirements and believed in public and transparent activities.
Statement Raises More Questions Than Answers: The Wire
However, the Wire article carrying India Foundation’s statement alleges that Doval’s statement “raises more questions than it answers.”
The article firstly questions the supposed presence of “ghost sponsors” at the Foundation’s earlier conferences. The article states that the Foundation's events had sponsors like Boeing, DBS and Magal to its credit. Retaliating against Doval's repsonse that "no foreign funding has ever been recieved" the article notes that the sponsorship in this case could have taken two forms- either they were listed as sponsors without any funding, or the funding was recieved by a partner organisation. The article then demands that the Foundation explain what form the sponsorship took.
Either way, the Foundation needs to explain what form the sponsorship took.The Wire
Further noting that the India Foundation has 'applied for and received' an FCRA license which allows an organisation to receive foreign funding, the article accuses Doval's statement for sidestepping this fact.
The article also states that if it has not received any foreign funding so far, then the license indicates that it "intends to do so in future".
Doval’s denial, therefore, brings into even sharper relief the conflict of interest involved in ministers serving as directors of a foundation that has chosen to set itself up as the recipient of contributions from foreign corporations and other entities that would, in all likelihood, have dealings with the government of India.The Wire
Conflict of Interest in Ajit Doval’s Son’s Think-Tank: The Wire
In an exclusive article published on 4 November, news website The Wire alleged that the India Foundation has “conflict of interest writ large”.
First, the India Foundation has some senior ministers of the Narendra Modi government as directors, the article noted. These names include Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu, and two Ministers of State – Jayant Sinha of Civil Aviation Ministry and MJ Akbar of External Affairs Ministry.
The Wire alleges that thanks to the backing of such heavyweights, the think-tank has seen a “meteoric” rise since 2014 – the year Modi was elected as India’s Prime Minister.
Further, besides running the India Foundation, Shaurya is a partner at Gemini Financial Services, a financial services firm that helps carry out transactions and capital flows between the OECD and the emerging Asian nations. That raises “the prospect of conflict of interest and lobbying, problems Narendra Modi had promised to banish forever from the corridors of power”, The Wire noted.
Shaurya Doval spoke to BloombergQuint’s Menaka Doshi on the hits and misses of the Modi government after it completed three years in power. Watch the video below.
Finally, the think-tank has “opaque” financials, making it hard to pinpoint its source of revenue, it added.
Here are the key takeaways from The Wire report:
In an earlier investigative report, The Wire had alleged that Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s company enjoyed 16,000-fold growth in the year after Modi came to power. Terming the allegations “baseless and derogatory”, Jay had filed a criminal defamation suit of Rs 100 crore against the author of the article, the editor and the owner of news website.
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