New Delhi: The home ministry has issued a notice to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, asking him to explain his "factual position" over a complaint filed by BJP parliamentarian Subramanian Swamy that he holds British citizenship. The Congress chief has been given a fortnight to respond to the notice.
The government notice comes right in the middle of a bitterly contested Lok Sabha election, in which Rahul Gandhi is contesting from two seats – Amethi in UP and Wayanad in Kerala.
Earlier this month, the returning officer of Amethi had declared that the Congress president’s nomination papers were valid after a complaint was made that there were several discrepancies in his affidavit, including details about his citizenship.
The complainants, like Swamy, had alleged that Gandhi had declared himself as a British citizen in company filings made in the United Kingdom.
"I am directed to say that this ministry has received a representation from Dr Subramanian Swamy, in which it has been brought out that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in the year 2003, with address 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH and that you were one of the directors and secretary of the said company," the letter signed by BC Joshi, director, Citizenship, in the home ministry reads.
It further stated that in the annual returns filed by the company, Gandhi’s date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970 and his nationality as British.
The letter said that the dissolution application filed by the company, dated February 17, 2009, also referred to Rahul Gandhi's nationality as British.
The Congress has rubbished the claim and dubbed the notice an attempt to divert attention from real issues.
"The entire world knows Rahul Gandhi is an Indian citizen by birth. Modi ji has no answer for unemployment, Modi ji has no answer for agrarian distress and black money, that's why he's resorting to fake narrative through his government's notices to divert attention," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Swamy had repeatedly accused Gandhi of holding British citizenship. He had first raised the allegation first in 2015. Rahul Gandhi has accused the BJP leader of misleading the nation and challenged him to substantiate his claims with documentary proof.