New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has been issued a notice by the Ethics Committee of Parliament chaired by BJP veteran L. K. Advani seeking his response on allegations related to declaration of his citizenship in the UK. "We will deal with it," Rahul said on Monday to queries by reporters while the Congress reacted sharply, accusing the government of trying to divert attention from pressing issues facing the country.
In the first week of January, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had forwarded to the Ethics Committee the complaint of BJP MP Maheish Girri requesting for "appropriate inquiry" into party colleague Subramanian Swamy's allegations that Rahul had declared himself a British citizen to float a firm in that country.
"The Ethics Committee has issued a show cause notice asking him (Rahul Gandhi) how he showed his citizenship as British when he was in London and became a Director...," Arjun Ram Meghwal, one of the committee members, told reporters outside Parliament on Monday. Swamy had also approached the speaker in this regard.
Girri, who is an MP from East Delhi, had earlier maintained that it was necessary that people should get to know the reality in this issue and requested the speaker to initiate an appropriate inquiry.
In a statement, he had also said then that many "contradictory" facts against Rahul had come up and there was "a big mystery" over his citizenship.
After referring the matter to the Ethics Committee, the speaker had then said that whenever an MP sends a complaint to the speaker, it is referred to the committee as per rules.
Swamy, a former MP, had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last November raising questions over Rahul's citizenship.
Hitting back, Rahul had accused the PM of indulging in mudslinging through his "cronies" and dared the government to probe the allegations against him and send him to jail if found guilty.
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury on Monday alleged that the government was trying to divert attention from the "various crises" being faced by the country.
Party leader Digvijaya Singh said that the complaint did not deserve attention.
"A person who is born in India and whose grandmother and father have been Prime Ministers of India, can that person be a citizen of some other country. The Ethics Committee should dismiss it," he said.
The Supreme Court had in November last year rejected a plea seeking a CBI inquiry into the allegations against Rahul and questioned the "authenticity of the document" attached with the PIL and the manner in which the papers were procured.