Hours after the MHA served a notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi seeking clarification on his citizenship status, Home Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday said the timing of the communication is not relevant, even though it came in the middle of general elections. “It is not a big development. It is a normal process,” he said, when asked about his ministry serving the notice to the Congress chief asking him to clarify within a fortnight his “factual position” on a complaint questioning his citizenship status.
The Home Ministry issued the letter after it received a representation from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in which he has claimed that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in 2003 with Gandhi as one of its directors. Singh told mediapersons here, “If any member of Parliament raises a question in Parliament, it becomes necessary to respond to it. If any MP writes a letter to any ministry, then necessary proceedings are undertaken by the ministry. It is not a big development, it is a normal process.”
Asked specifically if the timing of the letter raising question on the citizenship of the country’s main opposition leader was relevant as it comes in the election season, Singh replied, “No, no. This question was raised in Parliament also. A Member of Parliament (Dr Subramanian Swamy) has written to the ministry several times as well, following which the action has been taken.” Gandhi is seeking reelection from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency which goes to polls in the fifth phase of voting on May 6.
An objection on the citizenship issue was also raised by an independent candidate against Gandhi in Amethi, but the returning officer, after scrutiny, declared his nomination papers as valid. The Home Ministry also said Swamy’s letter mentioned that in the British company’s annual returns filed on October 10, 2005 and October 31, 2006, Gandhi’s date of birth has been shown as June 19, 1970 and his nationality as British.
“Further, in the dissolution application dated February 17, 2009 of the above referred company, your nationality has been mentioned as British. “You are requested to intimate the factual position in the matter to this ministry within a fortnight of the receipt of this communication,” the Home Ministry notice issued Monday said.