Janata Party president files complaint against Rahul Gandhi

The Returning Officer of the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, who has been asked to take appropriate action on a complaint by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy against Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, has ample powers to apply his judicial mind and file a complaint in the court concerned if he was satisfied that there was prima facie case against Mr. Gandhi.

Non-cognisable offence

Election Commission sources here said since the alleged offence — false affidavit or concealing any information in the affidavit filed by the candidate — under section 125A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, was a non-cognisable offence, it was for the court to take cognisance of the complaint, if any, filed by the Returning Officer.

If the Returning Officer, during perusal of records, found that there was no case made out in the complaint, he can straightaway reject the complaint and duly inform the complainant and he need not send the papers for any authority for expert/legal opinion, sources said.

However, the sources added that the provisions of Section 468 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be applicable in this case and as per that provision the Returning Officer has to take the final decision on the complaint within one year. Otherwise the court will not entertain the complaint.

Since the punishment for the offence (false affidavit) under Section 125A of R.P. Act was only six months’ imprisonment or fine or both, the maximum time gap given is one year to complete the enquiry, sources said.

According to Dr. Swamy, in his complaint dated October 31, 2012, to the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. Gandhi, who was elected from Amethi in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, had wrongly stated in his election affidavit that he had no shares and debentures in companies. “This is a blatant lie.”

“According to the list of shareholders of the Associated Journals Limited [owners of National Herald and Quami Awas newspapers], as on September 30, 2008, submitted to the Registrar of Companies [RoC] Mr. Rahul Gandhi holds more than three lakh shares in the company,” Dr. Swamy said in his complaint.

He said that in a bid to cover up this misrepresentation, Mr. Gandhi declared to RoC on May 24, 2010, that he resigned from directorship 14 months earlier on March 24, 2009.

“This illegal pre-dated resignation fraud was done as he had submitted his nomination as candidate for Lok Sabha elections in 2009 on April 4, 2009,” Dr. Swamy alleged.