The Union home ministry has served a notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, asking him to clarify within a fortnight about his “factual position” on a complaint questioning his citizenship status.
In a letter dated April 29, the ministry said it had received a representation from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy which stated that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in 2003 with Gandhi as one of its directors.
The ministry said Swamy’s letter also mentioned that the British company’s annual returns filed on 10th October, 2005, and 31st October, 2006, gave Gandhi’s date of birth as June 19, 1970, and declared his nationality as British. “Further, in the dissolution application dated February 17, 2009 of the above referred company, your nationality has been mentioned as British. You are requested to intimate the factual position in the matter to this ministry within a fortnight of the receipt of this communication,” the ministry’s notice said.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh sought to downplay the issue, though, and said in Lucknow: “It is not a big development. It is a normal process.” Earlier, the issue of Gandhi’s citizenship was raised before the Parliament ethics committee headed by senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani.
The panel failed to hold a session even once in four years, however, after the matter was referred to it. The committee last met only on December 3, 2015, when it successfully framed rules and procedures for the Lok Sabha’s Committee on Ethics, according to the Lok Sabha website.
Swamy had written to the Prime Minister in 2015, alleging that Gandhi had termed himself “British” in 2005-07 annual returns of a UK-based company.
The Congress had then termed it a typing error and showed other documents from the same company where Gandhi had declared himself Indian.
A public interest litigation on the matter was dismissed by the Supreme Court in November 2015. In January 2016, BJP MP Mahesh Giri took up the matter in Lok Sabha and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan referred it to the Ethics Committee, which sent a notice to Rahul Gandhi in March 2016.