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PoliticsIndiaCase against Smriti Irani's daughter, minister's defamation notices to INC explained

Case against Smriti Irani’s daughter, minister’s defamation notices to INC explained

The Indian National Congress (INC) had held a press conference earlier yesterday and alleged that Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani's daughter had been running an "illegal bar" in Goa inside a restaurant. The party demanded that the minister should be removed from the union cabinet. Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh and chief of Mahila Congress Netta D'Souza addressed the press conference.

INC's allegation against Smriti Irani's daughter

Before this, on 22 July, INC mouthpiece National Herald — embroiled in an Enforcement Directorate case of money laundering — had reported that the excise commissioner of Goa Narayan M Gad has issued a show-cause notice to the city’s Silly Souls Cafe and Bar, run by Zoish Irani, Smriti Irani’s daughter, for procuring its license renewed "through dubious means".

Advocate Aires Rodrigues, through an RTI, found out that the license was renewed on 22 June using the Aadhaar card of Mumbai resident Anthony Dgama, the INC mouthpiece said, who had died on 17 May 2021. The lawyer, through an enquiry, said he "wanted to get to the root of this incident", which he says was “orchestrated” by Irani’s family, the excise office and the Assagao panchayat.

Is the case against Smriti Irani's daughter official?

The matter will be heard on 29 July. Herald Goa reported that the Excise Commissioner has ordered the "excise holder and the complainant Adv Aires Rodrigues to be personally present" in the hearing.

Anti-establishment news portal The Wire quoted Rodrigues as saying, “fraudulent and fabricated documents were produced” for the license renewal.

An excise department official also told The Wire, “The application was signed by someone on behalf of the license holder with an undertaking that 'please (sic) renew this license for the year 2022-23 and will transfer the said license within six months'.”

Smriti Irani's PC and legal response

Smriti Irani today sent legal notices to the INC and its politicians Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh and Netta D’Souza for alleging that her daughter was running an illegal bar in Goa. The minister claimed that these politicians made "malicious" charges at the behest of Sonia Gandhi's family due to her vocal stand in the National Herald case and vowed to fight back.

Addressing a press conference last afternoon, Irani said the allegations had been made "at the direction of the Congress leadership, namely the Gandhi family".

On behalf of Smriti Irani, her lawyer has sent a legal notice to the Congress, and its leaders Jairam Ramesh and Pawan Khera.

The letter sent to ministers by the lawyer read, "The allegations made by the addressees against our client contain ex-facie false, baseless and unsubstantiated information which is being published and disseminated publicly, without any verification by you, the addressees and yet, being accessed by members of the public at large, all around the world. This is a part of a larger conspiracy to garner political mileage by sensationalizing falsities, misrepresentations and false narratives; and obviously is with a motive to injure the reputation, goodwill, social and political standing as also the character of our client. "

"Our client is distressed that these allegations have been made with the knowledge of their falsity, or at least in careless disregard of the truth," the letter read further.

"The false allegations were intended to hurt the reputation of Our Client as a minister and a person in public life, and also to outrage her modesty and that of her daughter. These are serious offences under the Indian Penal Code and also a tort making the Addressees liable to penal damages."

Irani dared Rahul Gandhi to contest against her in again in 2024 and said he will lose again. "To the Gandhi family, which directed that this press conference be held against my child, I tell you to send Rahul Gandhi back to fight the election in 2024 from Amethi, & he'll lose again. That is my promise as a BJP worker and as a mother," she said.

"To the gentleman who sat there and giggled as they assassinated my daughter's character, I'll see you in the court of law, and in the court of people," she said.

Smriti Irani said that Jairam Ramesh had stated at the press conference by the INC that he was taking a position based on an RTI application.

"Where did it mention my daughter's name? The allegation that my daughter runs an illegal bar is malicious, with the intent not only to assassinate her character but also to politically malign me," the minister said.

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