A criminal complaint has been lodged at the Ranip police station in Ahmedabad against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and P K Jadeja, the returning officer of the 2012 Maninagar Vidhansabha constituency, for giving false evidence for the 2012 Gujarat Assembly elections.
Narendra Modi could be in double trouble with Congress moving the Election Commission over his alleged "wrong" affidavits in the past on his marital status and government saying that a judge for the snoopgate probe will be named soon.
"We have not backed out. We have to only name the judge. We will name," Law Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters soon after he led a Congress delegation to the Election Commission demanding filing of an FIR against Modi for his "wrong affidavits" in the past four elections.
On a question whether Modi’s nomination can be rejected on this ground, Sibal said, “We are not here for rejection of nomination paper. It is not our intention that he should not fight. Law does not bind the RO who rejected his nomination paper. It is for the officer to decide. We are asking for that. We are saying that this is a false affidavit on four occasions. It is clearly false because today he has admitted. On that false affidavit, he is liable to prosecuted and a FIR should be lodged. This is clear violation of the law.”
When he was questioned by reporters at the AICC headquarters over the government's failure to name the judge for a long time, Sibal remarked, "We know the judge. The timing of the announcement will be decided."
"Yes, yes, the UPA II will announce the name. We have already announced the setting up of the enquiry commission. Therefore there is no violation (of the model code of conduct). We are careful about all these things," the minister said referring to the charges of spying on a young woman in 2009 allegedly at the behest of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The Union Cabinet had on December 26 last year decided to set up the Commission of Inquiry to probe into the Gujarat snoopgate.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had requested the Law Minister to recommend a retired judge of the Supreme Court to head the probe panel.
Brushing aside opposition from BJP and the Gujarat government, the Union Cabinet had taken the decision under the Commissions of Inquiry Act under which the Modi government has already set up a similar panel.
The Congress today approached the Election Commission over the issue of the marital status of Modi by seeking action by the poll body against the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for allegedly "hiding" facts in election affidavits filed by him in the past.
It came on a day when Rahul Gandhi raked up the issue of Modi's marriage to hit out at BJP, saying while the party made claims of ensuring safety of women, it took several elections for its PM candidate to mention the name of his wife in the poll affidavit.
"Don't know how many elections he has contested till now, but he has revealed for the first time that he is married. In Delhi, he talks about honour of women, but his own wife's name doesn't reach the affidavit," Gandhi said addressing a poll rally in Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi has for the first time declared himself as a married man by revealing his wife's name as Jashodaben in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission along with his nomination papers for Vadodara Lok Sabha seat. In the previous elections, he left the column blank.
The BJP has defended him saying he has never lied on the matter and there was "no aggrieved party".
Replying to a volley of questions, Sibal said Congress has nothing personal against Modi but it has moved in the matter as he has "violated" poll laws by not giving proper information about himself to the voters when he contested Gujarat assembly polls in 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2012.
He quoted provisions from the Representation of the People's Act to say that the BJP's prime ministerial has violated the law.
"It is for the EC to decide", he said brushing aside a query as to what punishment is stipulated in the law for those involved in such violation.
In the petition signed by K C Mittal, Secretary, AICC Legal Department, the Congress wanted the EC to direct immediate registration of an FIR against Modi under various sections of the IPC including 420.
It accused Modi of "intentional falsification of nomination paper including affidavits in Form 26, criminal breach of trust and cheating in submission of nomination papers".
Besides, the Gujarat chief minister was also charged with muddying the entire majesty of the electoral process by intentional and repeated non-disclosure of the marital status, assets and liabilities of spouse.
It also wanted the EC to hear it in view of the seriousness of the matter in order to arrive at a "just, fair and equi-table disposal" of the present petition.
Congress told EC that Modi had repeatedly professed in his speeches about the fact of his being "single" with no family.
"This was stated by him to reemphasise the fact that he has nobody in this world—no relative, no family, no children and no political successor."
"He made a virtue out of being 'single', repeatedly through public platforms reflecting the fact of him being 'single', bereft of any trappings of family or relatives as an evidence of his selfless service", it told the EC.
To drive home the point, it quoted Modi's speech in Himachal Pradesh in February in which he said "and secondly my brothers, why do I need to be corrupt? for whom do I want money? I have nobody in this world and therefore brothers and sisters, I sacrifice my body and soul. Only a person like me can fight".