The Ministry of Home Affairs has refused to share details on its notice to Congress president Rahul Gandhi following a complaint questioning his Indian citizenship, citing provisions of the RTI Act barring disclosure of information that will, among other things, impede the investigation.
In April, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a notice to Rahul Gandhi over his citizenship after receiving a complaint from Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy. had also asked Gandhi to intimate the factual position in the matter within 15 days.
In an RTI application, the ministry was asked to provide a copy of the notice to Rahul Gandhi and details of the response received from him.
“The information sought cannot be disclosed under Section 8 (1) (h) and (j) of the RTI Act,” it said in response to the application filed by news agency PTI.
Section 8 (1) (h) bars disclosure of “information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders”.
Provision (j) bars “information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual…”.
Replying to another query in the RTI application, the Home Ministry said it is not required to maintain records of notices issued to individuals on their citizenship status.
Citing a letter by Swamy, a home ministry notice read, “… it has been brought out that a company named Backops Limited was registered in the United Kingdom in the year 2003, with address 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 9EH and that you were one of the directors and secretary of the said company.”
The letter further said the complaint mentioned that in the company’s annual returns filed on October 10, 2005, and 31 October 2006, Gandhi’s date of birth has been given as June 19, 1970, and that the Congress president had declared his nationality as British.
In the Dissolution application of the company dated 17/02/2009 too, the notice said, his nationality has been mentioned as British.
Then Home Minister Rajnath Singh had played down the notice to Gandhi as a “normal process”.
Rahul Gandhi’s sister and Congress General Secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi had rubbished the claim saying that “the whole of India knows that Rahul Gandhi is an Indian”.
(With PTI inputs)