Congress leader Rahul Gandhi received a new ordinary passport on Sunday, two days after a Delhi court gave its clearance, sources said. He had applied for an ordinary passport after surrendering the old diplomatic passport issued to him when he was an MP, and is set to travel to US on Monday evening for a three-city tour.
Gandhi was disqualified as an MP in March following his conviction and two-year sentence by a Gujarat court in a defamation case over his alleged ‘Modi surname’ remark. The sources said the passport office had assured Gandhi in the morning that the passport would be issued to him on Sunday and he got it in the afternoon.
The Congress leader had moved a Delhi court, which on Friday granted the no-objection certificate to him for the issuance of an ‘ordinary passport’ for three years instead of 10, the period for which it is normally issued. This was following an objection by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is the complainant in the National Herald case. Gandhi is an accused in the case.
Starting with San Francisco, where he is scheduled to interact with students at the prestigious Stanford University, Gandhi will address a press conference and have meetings with lawmakers and think tanks in Washington DC. The Congress leader is also likely to address Indian Americans and interact with Wall Street executives and university students during his week-long tour of the USA. He is slated to conclude his trip with a public gathering in New York on June 4. The interaction would take place at the Javits Center in New York.
The court, while giving clearance for issuing the passport, noted that the National Herald case was pending at the stage of cross-examination of the complainant in pre-charge evidence and Gandhi has been regularly appearing either in person or through his counsel and has not hampered or delayed the proceedings.
On March 24, the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala was declared vacant after Rahul Gandhi, who represented it in the Lok Sabha, was disqualified following his conviction in a defamation case in which he was sentenced to a two-year jail term. The Congress leader’s sentence has been suspended, pending appeal.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)