New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) The Congress on Monday met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) O.P. Rawat and demanded that BJP President Amit Shah’s membership of the upper House be suspended for not disclosing his liabilities in his election affidavit during the Rajya Sabha polls last year.
“Our delegation met the Election Commission (EC). Under Representation of People’s Act, 2004, whoever contests an election, he has to disclose his assets and properties,” said Congress leader Kapil Sibal who led a party delegation to the EC.
“If there is any liability, he should disclose that as well. Amit Shah mortgaged two of his properties through his son Jay Shah to a cooperative bank in Gujarat which got them a loan of Rs 25 crore. But he did not disclose this in the election affidavit. This is a liability,” he added.
Sibal said: “We told the EC that this is a violation of the 2004 rule. Our representation should be sent to the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, so that action can be taken against Amit Shah.”
“The EC said it had taken cognizance of it and will take a decision on it soon and also initiate appropriate action. We don’t want to make it a political issue. We want the EC to act on it,” he added.
The Congress delegation included Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Jairam Ramesh, Vivek Tankha and Pranav Jha.
In a memorandum to the EC, the party said: “Following the publication of recent news items in the public domain, it has come to light that Amit Shah, who was nominated to Rajya Sabha as a member of Parliament in 2017, has wilfully and deliberately concealed significant liabilities from his declaration.”
“At the time of filing his nomination papers for the election to the Upper House, Amit Shah had already mortgaged two of his properties (in 2016) to Kalupur Commercial Cooperative Bank (one of Gujarat’s largest Cooperative Banks) for his son Jay Shah’s business venture Kusum Finserve LLP,” it added.
It also said that Shah’s properties were mortgaged in lieu of a large and substantial loan of Rs. 25 crore extended by the bank to his son’s company.
“It is, therefore, a fact that the properties are mortgaged to Kalupur Commercial Cooperative Bank and hence constitute a liability that should have been declared.”
The party further said: “It must also be pointed out that Section 128 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 defines the liability of the Surety (in this case Amit Shah) as co-extensive with the corporate person/ body taking the loan.”
“The act of wilful non-disclosure by the MP in his affidavit amounts to the offence of ‘filing of false affidavit’ under Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Such an offence is punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment, or with fine, or with both,” said the memorandum.
The Congress demanded that the EC must take immediate note of this and initiate appropriate proceedings to suspend the membership of Amit Shah to the upper House with immediate effect.
“The EC should also initiate communication with the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha to start the procedure laid down under the relevant 2004 rules to determine what further penalties may be imposed for breach of privilege.”
“Further, the EC must initiate proceedings against Amit Shah for the filing of a false affidavit, which attracts up to six months’ imprisonment and/or a fine,” it added.