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3 Times and Counting: How Many Times Does Rahul Gandhi Have to Prove His Citizenship?

Why is the matter being revived again when the Supreme Court and the Parliament have already looked into it and found nothing substantial?

The Home Ministry on April 30, 2019, served a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, asking him to clarify within a fortnight his “factual position” on a complaint questioning his citizenship status.

In a letter, the Home Ministry said it has received a representation from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in which it has been brought out that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in 2003 with Rahul as one of its directors.

Here is a brief history of the periodical flare up of the issue of Gandhi’s citizenship.

Subramanian Swamy’s 2015  allegation

BJP MP and conspiracy theorist-in-chief, Swamy made the accusation for the first time in 2015. His claim being that in the British company’s Backops annual returns filed on October 10, 2005 and October 31, 2006, Rahul’s date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970 and had declared his nationality as British.

Swamy had even written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding an inquiry into the matter

The Congress had issued a point-by-point rebuttal of Swamy’s allegations, providing the certificate of incorporation of the said company which “clearly mentions Gandhi as an Indian national”. The documents show that Gandhi’s nationality was written as Indian on two sets of documents while on a third, it was typed as British but was corrected and marked Indian, ostensibly the rectification of a typo.

PIL in Supreme Court

Advocate ML Sharma filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 2015, demanding a CBI inquiry in the matter of Rahul Gandhi’s citizenship.

Calling the petition ‘frivolous’, the court questioned the authenticity of the documents that were used to make the allegations, and dismissed it PIL in November that year.

Parliamentary Ethics Committee sends notice to Rahul Gandhi 

Even though the SC had dismissed a PIL based on the documents cited by Swami, in March 2016, the Ethics Committee under the chairmanship of BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani sent Gandhi a show-cause notice.

Gandhi had reportedly reiterated that the discrepancy on the document was an inadvertent error due to a typographical error. Clarifying that he has never applied for the citizenship of another country, he had also slammed the charges as “political conspiracy” to malign his image.

The Ethics committee did not meet again after this.

Why is the matter being revived again, right before the election when the Supreme Court and the Parliament have looked into the allegations and did not find anything substantial to take action? It is reasonable to assume that the controversy is being fanned in order to deflect the media’s attention from real issues during a crucial election.

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