In a major relief to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, the District Magistrate Court on Monday found his Amethi nomination valid and rejected all ‘Raul Vinci’ objections raised by other Independent candidates. Gandhi’s lawyer KC Kaushik was present in the court to argue on his client’s behalf. On the objections raised over Gandhi’s nationality, Kaushik said that Gandhi was born in India and he holds an Indian passport, he never took citizenship of any other country. His passport, Voter-ID, and his income tax, everything is of India. “I don't know who Raul Vinci is or where he came from. Rahul Gandhi had done his M Phil in 1995 from University of Cambridge, I have attached a copy of the certificate,” he added.
On April 20, an independent candidate Saturday raised objections over the Congress president's nomination from Amethi, alleging discrepancies over citizenship and educational qualifications in his election affidavit. Citing the complaint, the BJP said in New Delhi asked Gandhi to come clean on the matter. Complainant Dhruv Lal's lawyer Ravi Prakash showed reporters purported copies of a certificate of incorporation of a UK-registered company in which the Congress leader is stated to be a British national.
Amethi's returning officer Ram Manohar Misra told reporters that Rahul Gandhi's counsel had sought time to reply to the objections and has been asked to do so by Monday. Ravi Prakash claimed that the UK Company had existed for five years and would have made some profit, but that has not been disclosed in the affidavit. He told reporters that he has urged the returning officer to look into this aspect.
The independent candidate's counsel said he has sought a clarification on Gandhi's citizenship as being a UK citizen would bar him from fighting the Lok Sabha elections. Yogendra Misra, the president of the district Congress unit, said the objections will be countered legally on Monday.
Uttar Pradesh's Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwar Lu said he has sought information on the complaint from the district election authorities. In Delhi, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said it is "stunning" that Gandhi's lawyer 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 told reporters. Election Commission sources said the returning officer is the final authority on such a matter, 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, the person should approach the court, they said.
(With PTI inputs)