Congress attacks Smriti Irani over Goa bar row, lawyer of minister's daughter issues statement
While Smriti Irani has not commented on the issue, the lawyer other daughter has issued a statement dismissing all allegations.
The Congress on Saturday attacked Union minister Smriti Irani over reports that a Goa restaurant allegedly run by the minister's daughter Zoish has been served a notice for acquiring a liquor licence in the name of a dead person. The officer who showed the courage to serve the notice is being hounded and preparation for his transfer is also going on, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said in a press conference. "While the children of your supporters are engaged in LuLu Mall-Hanuman Chalisa- Namaz game, your children are either studying outside India – which is a very good thing, they should do – or are indulging in illegal activities under your patronage," Pawan Khera said.
The Congress leader alleged that the bar licence in the name of a dead person is just one of the illegal activities. The restaurant has two bar licences, which no restaurant in Goa has, and it has bar licences without having a legal licence to operate as a restaurant, Pawan Khera claimed.
"We want to ask the minister whether she had no knowledge about all these things. We have also come to know that steps are being taken to transfer the official. Is it happening without the minister's intervention?" Pawan Khera asked.
"Jairam Ramesh ji has got to know that today morning bouncers of a very disputed security agency Thunder Force Security have been deployed around the bar to stop media persons," Pawan Khera said adding that he will not take the name of Smriti Irani's daughter as she is not involved in politics.
While the Union minister has not yet commented on the controversy, Kirat Nagra, the lawyer of Smriti Irani's daughter issued a statement and said his client is neither an owner nor operating the restaurant called Silly Souls Goa and has not received any show cause notice from any Authority whatsoever as alleged.
Nagra said various "erroneous, frivolous , malicious and defamatory social media posts being made by various vested quarters trying to settle political scores with our client's mother, the renowned politician Smriti Irani each of which are predicated on blatant falsities", PTI reported.
“It is unfortunate that they have resorted to spreading a false propaganda only to sensationalize a non issue without ascertaining true facts and with a predetermined objective of defaming Our Client for solely being the daughter of a political leader,” the lawyer said.
Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga on Friday refuted the claims and said Smriti Irani's daughter is studying in the US and has no connection with the bar. “Congress goons are targeting the 18-year-old daughter on the instructions of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi,” Bagga tweeted. “Smriti Irani’s daughter is not the owner of restaurant so question of she being sent notice does not arise. 18-year-old girl is completing her studies currently out of India. It is a perfect case of defamation for maligning a young girl’s name for political reasons,” the BJP leader tweeted.
At the press conference, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said while Smriti Irani brings ‘baseless’ charges against Rahul Gandhi, they have documents to prove the illegal activities of the restaurant allegedly run by Smriti Irani's daughter. “These are not allegations. There are RTI documents showing how laws have been bypassed which could not have been done had there not been the patronage of an influential minister," Jairam Ramesh said.
Without naming Smriti Irani, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi on Saturday said it is best to issue a clarification in such a case where documentary evidence is available, instead of denying the ownership. "If the drinking license for the Goa bar/restaurant/ fine dining acquired was on the basis of a signature of a dead man, revealed via RTI, best to issue a clarification & course correction rather than a denial of ownership when there is ample evidence showing otherwise," Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted.