Home Specials Curious case of Rahul Gandhi's nationality: Congress' 'explanation' opens a pandora's box, raises more questions than answers

Curious case of Rahul Gandhi’s nationality: Congress’ ‘explanation’ opens a pandora’s box, raises more questions than answers

Indian or British? The glaring discrepancies in documents filed by Rahul Gandhi raise doubts over his nationality.

Rahul Gandhi’s nationality gets curiouser and curiouser. After the Home Ministry sent a notice asking for clarifications on the basis of the British company documents where the Congress President has declared his nationality as ‘British’, Congress released a document to prove that in a British company where Rahul Gandhi was listed as a director, he had declared himself as an Indian national. Congress-friendly journalist Pallavi Ghosh was among those who shared the document.

OpIndia tried to dig more into this and here is what we found.

To begin with, while the MHA based the notice on the company BACKOPS Limited, it is curious that Congress should choose a document of another UK based company ‘Bristol Legal Services Limited’ where Rahul Gandhi was a director as a counter. Instead of putting the doubts to rest, it has opened a whole new can of worms.

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We looked up ‘Bristol Legal Services Limited’ on companieshouse.gov.uk the online database of Registrar of Companies of the United Kingdom.

Company overview of Bristol Legal Services Limited

‘Thomas Paul Russell’ is officer-in-charge of Bristol Legal Services Limited

On CompaniesHouse, we tried to find the 21 August 2003 resolution which Pallavi Ghosh had posted. The Annual Return filed on 26 April 2003 (date prior to the date mentioned in the document shared by Ghosh), does not mention Rahul Gandhi as a director.

Return details on April 2003

We then looked up the company ‘Bristol Legal Services Limited’ on nexok.co.uk, an online database of companies and directors for the UK. Surprisingly, it directed us to ‘BACKOPS Limited’.

Bristol Legal Services Limited made ‘company secretary’ for a day before Rahul Gandhi was made one.

One name that stands out in the document Ghosh shared was of one Ulrik McKnight, another director of Bristol Legal Services Limited. McKnight name did not appear as a director when we looked for in the company profile of Bristol Legal Services Limited (just like Rahul Gandhi’s name did not appear). However, when we searched for his name, two Ulrik McKnights appeared.

Ulrik McKnight details on Companies House

Both are American citizens, both are born in 1974, both have the same middle name. Except, one is born in August and one in October. Since the document Pallavi had shared mentioned birthdate of Ulrik McKnight as 19th August, 1974, we went with the first option.

Ulrik McKnight born in August 1974

The company details of Ulrik do not mention Bristol Legal Services Limited. Also, his nationality is Swedish.

Ulrik McKnight, who was born on October 1974

Ulrik McKnight born in October 1974, too, did not hold directorship of Bristol Legal Services Limited. So, who exactly is this mysterious Ulrik McKnight whose details are also missing from the details of Bristol Legal Services Limited like that of Rahul Gandhi?

Ulrik McKnight is journalist and NYT columnist Sonia Faleiro’s husband. And who is Sonia Faleiro? She is the daughter of Eduardo Faleiro, who has been a Congress politician all his life, and has even been a Union Minister for 5 years. Nothing illegal here, but now we know how Rahul Gandhi might have met Ulrik McKnight.

Twitter user ‘WrongDoc’ pointed out one more discrepancy. There is one mysterious ‘Brian Lovegrove’ who appears as a company secretary for a day. While Companies House does not throw many results, companycheck.co.uk and duedil.com (another companies data aggregator websites) list him as a company secretary for one day.

Companycheck.co.uk data on BACKOPS Limited

Brian Lovegrove has retired as a director from as many as 1,056 companies and has active directorship in as many as 21 companies as of now.

Moving on, we look at the address Bristol Legal Services Limited is registered at. 6 Lower Park Row, Bristol BS1 5BJ is the address which is also the address for correspondence for ‘Thomas Paul Russell’. It is also the address of one company called ‘Bourse Company Services’ which helps individuals in registering companies. The company shares its address with over 70 other companies. Hardly anything is available on who Thomas Paul Russell is. Brian Lovegrove mentioned above also has his address set up as 6, Lower Park Row, Bristol.

Coming back to Rahul Gandhi’s address found in the document Pallavi Ghosh shared. 2, Frognal Way, London, UK NW3 6XE. At least five companies are registered at 2, Frognal Way, London at the address Rahul Gandhi has given as ‘proof’ of his Indian nationality.

According to companieshousedata.co.uk, Amgi Limited, Oligopoly Enterprises Limited and Tapnow Limited are registered at 2 Frognal Way. As per endole.co.uk, Hoxton Securities Limited and Deltaxy Ltd. are also registered at the same address. 2, Frognal Way, London is also the address of Asia TV Limited, a company incorporated by Amitabh Bachchan’s brother, Ajitabh Bachchan.

Ajitabh Bachchan at 2, Frognal Way

And surprise, surprise, 2 Frognal Way, London is also the address Rahul Gandhi has given for BACKOPS Limited registration.

Details of Rahul Gandhi as Director of BACKOPS

Rahul Gandhi himself has not been consistent in declaring his nationality. While in the above letter, he is ‘British’, in the letter shared by Congress through the friendly media, he is ‘Indian’. And again there is a 2004 document where his nationality is first typed as ‘British’ but it is corrected manually to “Indian”.

Rahul Gandhi’s nationality manually changed to ‘Indian’ from ‘British’ (image: IndianExpress)

Amidst all this, Congress’ ‘clarification’ has only opened a pandora box of discrepancies. These documents raise more questions than they answer. Congress and Rahul Gandhi both must come clean on the following points:

  1. What is Rahul Gandhi’s nationality?
  2. If it is Indian, why do these documents identify him as a British national?
  3. What is BACKOPS Limited? What was your role in the company? How is BACKOPS Limited and Bristol Legal Services Limited related?
  4. Why is the address in your filing with the companies registrar in the UK same as of so many other companies?

Article 9 of the Constitution of India bars every Indian citizen from acquiring voluntary acquiring citizenship of a foreign state. Article 19 of the Constitution of India also bars Indian citizen from accepting foreign titles.

Earlier today it was reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi over the citizenship controversy that erupted a few weeks ago. The Home Ministry has cited documents of the British company BACKOPS where Rahul Gandhi filed returns are a British citizen and sought a response from him within 10 days.

The matter of citizenship had also arisen when representation was made to the Election Commission about Rahul Gandhi’s election affidavit from Amethi. That complaint was however disposed off saying that this is the domain of the Home Ministry and not of the Election Commission.

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