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Rahul Gandhi's nomination papers valid, declares Amethi returning officer after Independent candidate questions Congress chief's citizenship

In a major relief for Rahul Gandhi, Returning Officer for Amethi Ram Manohar Misra on Monday declared the Congress president's nomination papers from the Lok Sabha constituency valid.

This comes after Dhruv Lal, an Independent candidate contesting from Amethi against Rahul, had filed a complaint against the Congress chief alleging discrepancies in his candidature with regard to his "British citizenship" and the educational qualifications he had mentioned in his election affidavit.

On Saturday, Lal's lawyer Ravi Prakash showed reporters purported copies of a certificate of a UK-registered company in which the Congress leader has apparently declared himself a British citizen.

After Lal filed his complaint, Amethi's returning officer had told reporters that Rahul's counsel had sought time to respond to the objections and given time till Monday.

Prakash claimed that the UK company, which existed for five years, would have made some profit, but Rahul not disclosed the amount in his affidavit. He sought clarification over Rahul's citizenship, on whether being a UK citizen would bar him from contesting the Lok Sabha election.

 Rahul Gandhis nomination papers valid, declares Amethi returning officer after Independent candidate questions Congress chiefs citizenship

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Soon after the controversy emerged, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said it was "stunning" that Rahul's lawyer had sought time to reply to the objections.

"These are serious allegations. Is Rahul Gandhi an Indian citizen or not? Did he ever become a British citizen? He should come out with the real story," he said.

The returning officer has the final authority in such matters, but he cannot check the veracity of what is submitted in an election affidavit. "If anyone has an objection to what is recorded in an affidavit, they should approach the court," Election Commission sources said.

The BJP spokesperson claimed that a British company, in which Rahul had reportedly made investments in 2004, had made a submission the same year to authorities in the UK that he was a British citizen.

Referring to Lal's complaint, the BJP spokesperson said there were "discrepancies and attempts to suppress facts" in the affidavits Rahul had filed during different elections from 2004 to 2014.

"The Congress chief had said he has an M.Phil in development economics from Cambridge University, but later claimed it was in development studies," Rao alleged, adding that inquiries show that one "Rahul Vincy", and not Rahul Gandhi, got the degree that particular year.

"We would like to know whether Rahul Gandhi goes by multiple names in different countries," Rao said.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 22, 2019 14:18:26 IST