The citizenship row seems to have returned to haunt Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi once again. The Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha has asked Rahul to respond on whether he had once declared himself a British citizen. According to reports, a show cause notice was served and was sent to Rahul's office last week. The Congress, however, denied having received the notice.
Briefing the media outside the Parliament on Monday, Rahul Gandhi said, "We'll deal with that."
We'll deal with that: Rahul Gandhi on showcause notice by Parliament's Ethics Committee pic.twitter.com/EaORho42ZP
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 14, 2016
The Congress leader also added that it has become BJP's habit to come up with lies.
BJP has a habit to come up with lies, we will respond to this in the Parliament: Rahul Gandhi on British citizenship row
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 14, 2016
"Rahul Gandhi has been issued notice seeking his response on why he declared himself as British citizen. The complaint was received by the Speaker and she has forwaded the complaint to the Ethics Committee," said Arjun Ram Meghwal, an Ethics Committee member and BJP MP.
"I had no idea that notice has been sent to Rahul Gandhi. I have just heard. I thought chairman will tell all of us but it didn't happen. If a complaint is there a letter was sent just to find out the details. This is a matter of procedure. It is politically motivated. We moved privilege motion against Smriti, so they have done it against Rahul," Congress MP Ninong Ering, an Ethics Committee member, was quoted as saying by IBNLive.
Refuting Congress's charges, Meghwal said, "It is a matter procedure and there is no politics in it. We did not fill the form it was Rahul who said he is British citizen. Why we will do politics? Let him reply."
An ethics committee has the power to expel a lawmaker if discrepancies were proven true. Congress, however, brushed aside the inquiry as a formality and said that there was no incriminating evidence against Rahul.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan referred the issue to the ethics committee after BJP's Delhi MP Mahesh Girri, in January, filed a complaint in the Lower House. The ethics committee is headed by BJP veteran LK Advani.
Congress had called the original complaint, by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy, a personal vendetta, and alleged that BJP leadership is carrying on this attack.
"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 told ANI.
The dual citizenship controversy engulfed the Congress in November when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that he had accessed documents to show that Rahul had claimed British nationality to set up a company in the UK. According to the documents that Swamy alleged that he had, claimed that the Congress vice-president was the director and secretary of the company.
Swamy had said that he he had extracted the papers from the company law authorities of Britain. The documents showed that Rahul had called himself "British" on the annual returns of UK-based "Backops Limited" in 2005 and 2006.
As a rebuttal to Swamy's allegations, the Congress released another document of the same company, in which Rahul had declared himself as Indian. The party described the discrepancy as a 'typing error' between the document and the British government's records. Rahul had then rejected the allegations of impropriety and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to jail him if he was proven guilty.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday said Rahul Gandhi should make his stand clear on the issue. "If he is a citizen of some country then he should make it clear. And if he is not making it clear then there is something wrong. If the ethics committee has issued a notice to him then he should definitely make it clear," Naqvi told ANI.