The row over Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Chennamaneni Ramesh's citizenship took a fresh turn on Monday as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) insisted in the state High Court, that the legislator continued to hold a German passport.
In November last year, the MHA had cancelled his citizenship on the grounds that he held citizenship of Germany and didn't fulfil the norms while obtaining Indian citizenship in 2009.
Following this, Ramesh, who was re-elected to Telangana Assembly in 2018 from the Vemulawada constituency last year, had managed to get a stay from the Telangana High Court.
Assistant Solicitor General Rajeswara Rao, who was representing the Centre in the case, furnished a note from the Centre on Monday which stated that Ramesh had not given up his German citizenship. The note reportedly mentioned that Ramesh had travelled to Germany as recently as December 16, 2019, using his German passport at the Chennai airport.
After going through the Centre's note, Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili directed Ramesh to furnish papers confirming that he had abdicated German citizenship. The case was posted to February 24 for further hearing.
The issue of Ramesh's citizenship has been going on since 2009, when he was elected as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) candidate. He later joined the TRS and was re-elected in the bye-election in 2010. He was elected to the Assembly again in 2014 and 2018.
The court is also hearing arguments put forth by complainant Adi Srinivas, the Congress leader defeated by Ramesh, in the 2009 elections.
Srinivas claimed that Ramesh had submitted fake documents, and violated the Representation of People’s Act, which states that any person who is not an Indian citizen, is not eligible to contest or vote in any election.
Under the Act, a person has to reside in India for 365 days (one year) to be eligible for citizenship. While Ramesh argued that he has done so, Srinivas claimed that it was not a 'continuous stay'.