Time ticking for Rahul Gandhi’s reply to MHA on citizenship

8th May 2019

8th May 2019

Rahul Gandhi: Looking for divine intervention?

The explanation which Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought from Congress President Rahul Gandhi about his alleged British citizenship has wider ramifications than is commonly believed.

Gandhi who has been asked to explain his position within a fortnight finds himself embroiled on more than one count.

As can be recalled, a letter by BJP MP Dr. Subramaniam Swamy in this regard is the basis of MHA action. Dr. Swamy in his letter has alleged that a UK-based company, Backops Limited, had Rahul Gandhi as a director in the past and his nationality was declared as British.

Along with the alleged citizenship issue, there is the nuanced matter of owning properties in United Kingdom. The data in UK property database company, www.mouthprice.com, describe the property of Backops, in North London’s Tony Hampstead area, as worth 13 million pound sterling or upwards of Rs 100 crore in Indian rupees.

Another property was at Frognal Way, sold off in March 2006 for 4.1 million pounds sterling, as per the data obtained from UK land registry office.

This has caught Rahul Gandhi in a bind. If he accepts being British citizen, he would be accused guilty of lying and deceiving as a foreign national neither can vote nor can be elected as a parliamentarian. If he denies, he may end up losing the ownership of the properties and its dividends in question.

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said the questions that the home ministry has raised on Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship were based on authenticated documents. “Which Rahul is original? Rahul of London or Rahul of Lutyens?This is the story of three Cs – Citizenship, Confusion and Clarification. These questions raised by MHA are based on authenticated documents.” 

Dr. Swamy claims that Rahul Gandhi did record himself as British citizen twice in annual returns filed by a now-defunct British company in which he was a director. The company was registered in 2003 and filed for dissolution in 2009.

 The notice was issued by BC Joshi, director (citizenship), of the Foreigners Division under the ministry.

The MHA further clarified its position: "If any member of Parliament raises a question in Parliament, it becomes necessary to respond to it. If any MP writes a letter to any ministry, then necessary proceedings are undertaken by the ministry. It is not a big development, it is a normal process. As far as questions about the timing is concerned, this was raised in parliament also. A member of parliament has written to the ministry several times, following which action has been taken”.

As is known, Rahul Gandhi is also facing a contempt notice from the Supreme Court which would be taken up by the apex court later this week, on May 10.

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