NewDelhi/Nagpur: Rahul Gandhi has been asked by the parliamentary ethics panel to explain whether he once declared himself a British citizen on the legal papers of a company in the UK.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan reportedly referred a complaint by lawmaker Mahesh Giri to the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha, which is led by senior BJP leader LK Advani.
The 11-member committee has sent notice to Mr Gandhi asking him to respond to the charge.
Congress leaders have accused the Speaker of “not following the process of natural justice” by not asking Mr Gandhi for his version before referring the complaint to the parliamentary panel.
The British citizenship controversy engulfed the Congress in November when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that he had accessed documents to show that Mr Gandhi claimed to be a British national to set up a company in the UK.
The 45-year-old Congress leader was the director and secretary of the company, according to the documents that Mr Swamy said he had extracted from the company law authorities of Britain.
The documents released by Mr Swamy showed that Mr Gandhi had called himself “British” on the annual returns of a UK-based firm “Backops Limited” in 2005 and 2006.
The Congress then released another document of the same company, in which Mr Gandhi had declared himself Indian. The party described as a “typing error” the discrepancy between the document and the British government’s records.
Mr Gandhi rejected allegations of impropriety and has dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an inquiry against him and jail him if he is proven guilty.