Fake news against Smriti Irani a ‘punishment’ for taking on Rahul Gandhi?

Onslaught against Union Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani is not new to the world of news. Ever since she took on the Gandhi scion in Congress bastion Amethi, she has been a regular target of attacks from Congress and its hit-job brigade.

Latest in the series of planted stories against Irani is her husband Zubin Irani’s involvement in an alleged land grab case in Madhya Pradesh.

Here is a fact sheet of the case on which the Congress was pining its upon to target Smriti Irani:

  • Jagran’s Nai Dunia published an article on 4 May stating that Union Minister’s husband had illegally acquired land that belonged to a government school in Umaria district.
  • It was alleged that a company owned by Smriti Irani’s husband was the guilty party (the school principal had made allegations). Subsequent to the news break, and inquiry was undertaken by the local administration.
  • Company which owns the land meanwhile issued clarification [link] that the land in question was purchased by them following due procedures and Union Minister or her husband are no where involved in the process.
  • Further, the company clarified that the husband of the Union Minister was just a shareholder and not a Director of the company.
  • The District Collector and SDM in Umaria completed their own investigations and they found that the allegations of land grab by the company was incorrect.
  • Jagran then published the findings of the investigations and updated their report with company’s rebuttal and investigation outcome.
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Hitjob no. 1 against Smriti Irani

Congress supporters still tried to sensationalize the issue but could not succeed owing to the lack of substance in the story.

Shifting goal posts, Congress supporters then started sharing another news article, this time in Patrika daily, which stated that registry of a piece of land owned by Smriti Irani’s husband was done at the residential address of former Riva MP.

Patrika newspaper clip
Hitjob number 2 against Smriti Irani

Now let’s see the facts in this case too:

  • Land in Umaria was purchased by Zubin Irani in the year 2016 and as per the land registration procedures, two addresses have to be registered – one local and one permanent.
  • Pragya Tripathi, daughter of former Riva MP, whose address is cited in the registry is known to have family relations with Smriti Irani and her family.
  • Pragya Tripathi had offered Smriti Irani to give her address as the local touch-point in the registration process.
  • While article only mentions that Tripathi’s address was used for registration, it does not highlight whether it was cited for the field of local address or the permanent address.
  • I got in touch with Pragya Tripathi to learn about the details. She stated that some people had approached her to ask if her address was registered for the land under Zubin Irani’s name to which her answer was affirmative as a local resident of the district.
  • However, Pragya Tripathi confirmed that no one from Patrika had approached her to find details of the entire matter. It is pertinent to note that article which is widely circulated by Congress on social media does not care to mention about the local address and the permanent address.

It is not surprising that the land, which was purchased by Zubin Irani in his personal capacity last year, suddenly became a topic of interest for Congress. They never cared to explain what was wrong in buying a land legally.

It appears that Congress is desperate to create some counter allegations after the Gandhi family was found embroiled in land deals. The party is further scared about the family’s image after BJP won 4 of 5 assembly seats falling the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi. The party is afraid that Irani might beat Rahul in the next Lok Sabha elections.

As the not-so grand old party contemplates to coronate Rahul Gandhi as the Party President this year, they are working to try and build his credibility. And Smriti Irani’s work in Amethi is doing no good to them. Irani’s strong presence in Amethi has compelled Congress to resort to cheap tricks against her in an attempt to restore Rahul’s credibility as Amethi MP.

Recently, due to efforts of Smriti Irani, Rahul Gandhi was forced to vacate hospital guest house in Munshiganj that he was using for personal-political purpose. Hospital run by Sanjay Gandhi Trust had illegally given hospital premises to Rahul Gandhi. Land meant for free health services to poor was given to Rahul by trust.

Recently, Smriti Irani had informed that the Jagdishpur Steel factory will soon resume its operations. Rahul Gandhi, despite having Congress government at the center for 10 years was not able to re-open the steel plant that was shut down soon after it started. Many local people were promised jobs, which they never got.

Apart from this, there are cases like Amethi-Unchahar railway link, land grab allegedly by Congress to benefit a Cycle company, and others. These examples show the commitment of Irani to the people of Amethi even though she had lost the elections. With some of these cases being related to land grab, it is not surprising that a fake land case is being leveled on her husband to extract ‘revenge’.

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