Citizenship row: Andhra court sets aside legislator's election

Hyderabad, Aug 14 : Andhra Pradesh High Court Wednesday set aside the election of a state legislator on the ground that he obtained Indian citizenship without due process.

The court passed the orders on a petition alleging that Chennamaneni Ramesh Babu submitted false documents to get Indian citizenship before contesting the elections for state assembly.

Ramesh was elected from Vemulawada constituency in Karimnagar district in 2009 on the ticket of Telugu Desam Party (TDP). In 2010, he joined Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and was re-elected in the by-election.

The high court delivered the verdict on a petition filed by Congress nominee Adi Srinivas, who lost to Ramesh Babu by 1,800 votes in 2009 elections.

Challenging Ramesh's citizenship the Congress leader alleged that he had misled the government by furnishing false details about his stay in India.

The petitioner argued that Ramesh, who had German citizenship, applied for Indian citizenship under Section 5(1) (f) of the Citizenship Act of 1955. As per the section, anyone seeking Indian citizenship should reside in the country for 12 months before the date of application.

Ramesh had applied with the Karimnagar district Collector for citizenship March 31, 2008 mentioning January 22, 2007 as the date of his entry into India. Srinivas, however, disputed this.

The home ministry had ordered an inquiry and the documents available with the Immigration authorities at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad were also checked to verify if Ramesh flew abroad after entering India.

Meanwhile, Ramesh told reporters that he would challenge the high court in the Supreme Court and seek a stay. He claimed that he did not violate any rules.

Last year, Congress MP from Karimnagar, Ponnam Prabhakar had urged state assembly speaker to disqualify Ramesh for staying in Germany for the last three years without bothering about people's problems. He had pointed out that Ramesh attended assembly only for 10 days in last three years.

Married to a German, Ramesh had been living in Germany since 1976 and obtained German citizenship in 1993.

--IANS (Posted on 14-08-2013)

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