Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was on Monday served a show-cause notice by the Ethics committee of Parliament asking whether he had declared himself as a British citizen during his stay in the United Kingdom.
“We will deal with it,” Mr. Gandhi said on Monday to queries by reporters while the Congress reacted sharply, accusing the government of trying to divert attention from pressing issues facing the country.
In the first week of January, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had forwarded to the Ethics Committee the complaint of BJP MP Maheish Girri requesting for “appropriate inquiry” into party colleague Subramanian Swamy’s allegations that Mr. Gandhi had declared himself a British citizen to float a firm in that country.
“The Ethics Committee has issued a show cause notice asking him (Rahul Gandhi) how he showed his citizenship as British when he was in London and became a Director…,” Arjun Ram Meghwal, one of the committee members, told reporters outside Parliament on Monday.
Mr. Swamy had also approached the Speaker in this regard.
Mr. Girri, who is an MP from East Delhi, had earlier maintained that it was necessary that people should get to know the reality in this issue and requested the Speaker to initiate an appropriate inquiry.
In a statement, he had also said then that many “contradictory” facts against Gandhi had come up and there was “a big mystery” over his citizenship.
After referring the matter to the Ethics Committee, the Speaker had then said that whenever an MP sends a complaint to the Speaker, it is referred to the committee as per rules.
Mr. Swamy, a former MP, had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November raising questions over Gandhi’s citizenship.
Hitting back, Mr. Gandhi had accused the PM of indulging in mudslinging through his “cronies” and dared the government to probe the allegations against him and send him to jail if found guilty.
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury on Monday alleged that the government was trying to divert attention from the “various crises” being faced by the country.
Party leader Digvijaya Singh said that the complaint did not deserve attention. “A person who is born in India and whose grandmother and father have been Prime Ministers of India, can that person be a citizen of some other country. The Ethics Committee should dismiss it,” he said.
Congress on Monday rejected all charges against party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, against whom BJP issued a show-cause notice asking him to respond to questions on whether he had once declared himself a British citizen.
“When the BJP has absolutely nothing left to say against the congress, then coming out with personal attacks is their trend and they are doing just that today. We strongly reject all these fabricated charges,” Congress leader PL Punia said.
The Supreme Court had in November last year rejected a plea seeking a CBI inquiry into the allegations against Gandhi and questioned the “authenticity of the document” attached with the PIL and the manner in which the papers were procured.