Goa bar row: Irani sends legal notice to Congress leaders
Union Minister Smriti Irani has sent a legal notice to Congress leaders over allegations that her daughter was running a bar on an illegal license in Goa's Assagao area. The notice has been served to Congress leaders Pawan Khera, Jairam Ramesh, Netta D'Souza, and the party. The notice has asked them to tender a written unconditional apology and withdraw the allegations with immediate effect.
- Union minister, a senior leader in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and a critic of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Irani defeated him in the latter's stronghold of Amethi in the 2019 general election.
- She has attacked the Congress for alleged corruption in the National Herald case, currently under investigation by government agencies.
- Therefore, the current complaint over acquiring an illegal license questions her credibility.
Irani termed the allegations as "malicious" and said that it was an attempt to assassinate her daughter's character, who is a "first-year college student and does not run any bar in Goa." "My daughter's fault is that her mother holds a press conference on the loot of Rs. 5,000 crore by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi," Irani told the media on Saturday.
"Send Rahul Gandhi back to fight the Lok Sabha election in 2024 from Amethi...he will lose again. That is my promise as a BJP worker and as a mother to that 18-year-old," the Union minister had said while warning of judicial action against the Gandhis.
The Congress demanded Irani's resignation over her daughter allegedly running an illegal bar in Goa with a falsely procured license. The party claimed that the license had been acquired in the name of a deceased person. In Panaji, Congress's state chief showed a video clip of her daughter being interviewed as a "young entrepreneur" and the restaurant, Silly Souls, being introduced as "her restaurant."
A statement by her daughter Zoish Irani's lawyer—Kirat Nagra—said she was neither an owner nor an operating figure at the restaurant. Adding that his client has not received any show-cause notice from authorities, the lawyer said, "Frivolous social media posts are being made from vested quarters to settle political scores with the mother of my client, all of which are predicated on blatant falsities."
The Silly Souls cafe made headlines after reports of the team acquiring a liquor license under the name of a deceased man surfaced. After an RTI-based complaint by lawyer Aires Rodrigues, Goa's excise commissioner reportedly issued a show-cause notice on Thursday. It was found that one Anthony Dgama applied for the license renewal on June 22, 2022, despite having passed away in May 2021.