Smriti Irani braves the storm on her daughter’s ‘illegal bar’ line as Congress strikes

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New Delhi: Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared on guard on Saturday as Union Minister Smriti Irani braved a political storm, with Congress accusing her daughter of running an “illegal” bar in Goa. She refuted the allegations, saying her daughter, Zoish, was just a student and threatened to sue the accusers “in front of the court and the people”.

As the BJP held an official meeting press conference, many leaders have chosen to remain silent. There was no official reaction from the government.

Some, like the Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga came to his defense on Twitter. Vanathi Srinivasan, National Chairman, BJP Mahila Morcha, too, tweeted that the allegations were “absolutely unacceptable”.

BJP sources claimed the party backed her. A senior BJP leader said Irani had already “defended herself” and the party was monitoring the situation. Another leader, Sunil Deodhar, comes tweeted the BJP press conference which Irani addressed from his official residence on Saturday.

“The documents do not mention the name of his daughter. Even though she’s connected to the restaurant, she didn’t do anything illegal. There have been cases when the person in whose name the permit was withdrawn dies, and then it is transferred. The documents don’t prove anything,” a party leader said.

“Congress just wants to target her because she’s going after Gandhis,” he added.

However, within the party as well, some believe that the Instagram videos and reports that have emerged – shared by Congress – should have been considered before speaking to the press.

“The Minister has done nothing wrong and therefore there is no question of her resigning. Regarding this particular incident, she will address it,” another BJP leader said.

Top Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Pawan Khera and Netta D’Souza held a press conference on Saturday and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack Irani over allegations that his daughter was running an “illegal bar”.

The allegations were denied by Irani who also held a press conference and said his daughter was being targeted because of “her mother’s vocal stance on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi’s Rs 5,000 crore loot in the National Herald affair”.

“The allegation that my daughter runs an illegal bar is malicious. This is being done under the orders of the Congress leadership because I had the audacity to hold a press conference and question Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for the spoils of Rs 5,000 crore from the Indian treasury,” he said. she declared.

In a statement, Zoish’s lawyer, Kirat Nagra, said there are various “erroneous, frivolous, malicious and defamatory social media posts from various invested quarters trying to settle political scores with our client’s mother. , the famous politician Smriti Irani, each of whom are based on blatant forgeries”.

Nagra also called the case a “non-issue” and said, “It is unfortunate that they resorted to spreading false propaganda only to sensationalise a non-issue without verifying the true facts… “.


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“False accusations, malicious campaign”

Congress, during its press conference, called the case “very serious” and agreed with the show cause notice that had been served on the bar. He also alleged that the officer who gave the notice was being transferred under pressure from Goa authorities.

Shortly after Irani denied the charges, Pawan Khera said in a tweet: “Which Smriti Zubin Irani is lying? The one who on April 14, 2022 said she was proud of her daughter’s restaurant or the one who says today that her daughter has nothing to do with the Silly Souls Bar & Cafe?

“The license of Smriti Irani’s daughter is in the name of a person who died in May 2021. The license was taken in June 2022 in Goa. However, the person whose name the license is in had died 13 months ago. It is completely illegal,” Khera said at the press conference.

Citing Goa rules, Khera had said at the press conference that in the state a restaurant can only get one bar license but that restaurant got two bar licenses.

Calling it a “malicious campaign”, Irani said: “Two middle-aged men dared to assassinate an 18-year-old child’s character. His only flaw is that his mother fought the election against Rahul Gandhi of Amethi in 2014 and 2019,” she added.

Questioning the ITR that Congress had shared, Irani said, “Jairam Ramesh said he is accusing my daughter based on an ITR. I ask Jairam Ramesh if my daughter’s name is there in this RTI app. Is my daughter’s name in the answer? “.

Khera also shared excerpts from an interview in which her daughter is featured as the owner of the restaurant.

In another report from Moneycontrol.com, shared by the Congress spokesperson, Irani was shown sharing on her Instagram how “proud” she is of her daughter. The article reads: “Smriti Irani has reposted a positive review her daughter’s restaurant received.”

Irani today said his daughter was just a student and had nothing to do with the restaurant.

“The girl is a freshman. She is not in politics. She is a normal student. But the congressional spokesman alleged that the girl was running an illegal bar. I want to tell Pawan Khera that my 18 year old daughter is a university student, my daughter does not run any bar,” she said.

“Congress spokespersons said I had to respond but I will now seek answers in court and in the people’s court,” the minister added.

According to sources, Congress will address the issue in parliament on Monday.

(With contributions from the agency)

(Editing by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)


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