Accusing her daughter of running a restaurant bar in Goa “illegally”, with the licence procured “fraudulently” in the name of a deceased person, the Congress Saturday demanded resignation of Union minister Smriti Irani. Calling it a “malicious” accusation, Irani hit back, saying that her daughter, Zoish, was the target only because “her mother does press conferences against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi”.
“The allegation that my daughter runs an illegal bar is malicious with the intent not only to assassinate her character but also to politically malign me,” Irani said.
She added: “And to the Gandhi family, which directed that this press conference [by Congress] be held against my child, I tell you this, send Rahul Gandhi back to fight the Lok Sabha election in 2024 from Amethi and he will lose again. That is my promise as a BJP worker and as a mother to that 18-year-old. I will see them in the court of law.”
In a statement, her daughter’s lawyer, Kirat Nagra, said his client was neither an owner nor operating the restaurant in question, Silly Souls Café and Bar in North Goa’s Assagao.
These remarks came after Congress leaders showed a show-cause notice issued to the bar and alleged that the Excise Department official who issued the notice is reportedly being transferred under pressure. Nagra stated that his client had not received any show-cause notice from any authority whatsoever.
Addressing the media in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said: “In Goa, a restaurant run by her daughter, it has a bar…it is accused of procuring a licence fraudulently. The licence is in the name of a person who died in May 2021 and…was procured in June (2022). In the name of that person, Smriti Irani’s daughter took the licence.”
Goa Excise Commissioner Narayan M Gad had issued a show-cause notice to Silly Souls Café and Bar on July 21 based on a complaint filed by lawyer Aires Rodrigues, who alleged that the eatery’s liquor licence was renewed in the name of one Anthony Dgama — his death certificate, issued by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, was annexed to Rodrigues’s complaint.
Gad had sought a reply from the restaurant in seven days.
In Panaji, state Congress chief Amit Patkar addressed the media and showed a video clip of a purported show in which Irani’s daughter was interviewed as a “young entrepreneur”, and Silly Souls introduced as “her restaurant.”
Nagra said that Irani’s daughter “has no control or oversight into the management and affairs of the eatery and her limited interaction at the facility was only while doing an internship program with the chef of Silly Souls Café.”
In Delhi, Irani said, “An 18-year-old child, a college student, her character today was assassinated by Congressmen…. They claim that the mutilations stemmed from a show cause notice. I want to ask that Congressperson where is the name of my daughter in the papers that he flashed?”
She also said: “It is done at the directions, as was obviously stated by Pawan Khera, of the Congress leadership, namely the Gandhi family, because I had the audacity to hold a press conference to question Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for the (Rs) 5,000 crore loot of the Indian treasury [in the national herald case’….So the gentlemen who sat there, giggled as they assassinated my daughter’s character, I will see you in the court of law and in the court of the people….”
(Inputs from PTI, Delhi)