The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee sent Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi a notice seeking his reply to allegations that he holds a British citizenship. But while the main Opposition party and ruling BJP dig deeper in their trenches, an MP on the committee says the issue is unlikely to snowball into a major political row.
“The notice is part of the routine process. On the receipt of each and every complaint, we issue a notice to the concerned party seeking his explanation. There is no political vendetta behind the move,” a source in the committee told Hindustan Times.
It was also pointed out by another panel member that there had not been any discussion on the issue in the committee.
Watch | Show-cause notice for Rahul Gandhi
BJP leader and former MP Subramanian Swamy first alleged that Gandhi once claimed he was a British citizen while filing the annual return of his dissolved company Backops Limited in London.
Swamy also alleged that Gandhi made the declaration in three tax returns – 2005, 2006 and 2009, and also provided a UK residential address.
The Congress vehemently denied the allegations and said it could have been a “typographical error” by the accountant of the firm who was responsible for filing the returns.
The party accused Swamy of pursuing a personal vendetta against the Gandhi family. The principal Opposition party views the complaint as another effort to attack the Congress leadership.
The party also pointed out that in other documents of the company and other annual returns, Gandhi is shown as an Indian.
Gandhi held 65% share in Backops Limited. He was also the director and company secretary.
The issue came up before the Parliament’s ethics committee as BJP’s East Delhi MP Mahesh Giri wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan in January, complaining against Gandhi’s ‘British citizenship’. Mahajan referred the matter to the Ethics panel, headed by BJP patriarch LK Advani.