Charitable groups affiliated with RSS spent about Rs 1,231.6 cr on Hindutva influence peddling in US and India: report

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The Bhutada Family Foundation reportedly donated more than 13.8 crore rupees ($1.7 million) to Sangh-affiliated charities from 2006 to 2018. It is headed by an American Indian from Texas and vice -National Chairman of HSS, Ramesh Bhutada, who is also Chairman of the Board of Sewa International. Bhutada is an electrical engineer and founder and CEO of Texas-based Star Pipe Products, an iron products company that employs nearly 400 people. His son Rishi Bhutada is vice president of finance at Star Pipes and a member of the HAF board of directors.

The Puran Devi Aggarwal Family Foundation, whose trustees include Braham Aggarwal, Suresh K Gupta and Avanish M Aggarwal, reportedly donated over Rs 2.11 crore ($272,000) to Sangh-affiliated charities from 2008 to 2018. Braham Aggarwal founded the Hindu University of America, the education wing of VHPA, in 1985 and was also the former director of HSS South East America. The Aggarwals and Guptas own an Orlando-based housing company, Park Square Homes.

In April 2021, Al Jazeera reported that five US-based Hindu nationalist groups – Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA, HAF, Infinity Foundation, Sewa International and VHPA – received around Rs 6.5 crore ($833,000) in funding U.S. Federals Related to COVID-19. The Infinity Foundation is led by American Hindutva activist and author Rajiv Malhotra.

The research also uncovered possible financial irregularities through government filings, including possible Global Indians electioneering work for Bharat Vikas, a series of land and cash transfers between Vivek Welfare and Education Foundation and d other groups, and multi-million dollar loans from non-profit groups like India Development and Relief Fund and Bhutada Family Foundation to other entities. HAF also appeared to provide material assistance to the Pakistan Hindu Refugee Relief Program (PHRRP), a VHP-affiliated funding channel to India whose website indicates that it is not a tax-exempt organization. .

The report observed that the proliferating network of Sangh groups has influenced a multitude of social sectors across India, the United States and other parts of the world.

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