Centre seeks details from Caitu on citizenship


 Nearly two months and half after a petition was filed against him for determination of his citizenship under the Indian Citizenship Act, Union Home Ministry has finally sought details from Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva on the question of his citizenship.
On a petition filed by John Fernandes, a resident of Navangully-Varca, the Union Home Ministry has finally asked the Goa government to obtain all details from the Benaulim MLA. Sources in the know said the state government has asked Caitu to file a para-wise reply to the petition by the Varca-based petitioner, though no deadline has been set for submission of the reply.
The Benaulim MLA is believed to have consulted his lawyers on how to go about the matter since a disqualification petition filed by Valanka Alemao is already pending against him in the Bombay High Court at Goa.
Sources in the know said the MLA has taken a stand in the High Court that he is a citizen of India and has never surrendered his Indian citizenship at any point of time. Sources said the Benaulim MLA will maintain the same stand before the Union Home Minister that he continues to be a citizen of India since he has not surrendered his Indian citizenship nor been debarred from holding the citizenship.
When contacted, Add Radharao Gracias, who is representing John Fernandes, said that his client had filed the petition before the Union Home Ministry with a contention that the Benaulim MLA is no more an Indian national after allegedly acquiring Portuguese citizenship. He pointed out that under Section 9 of the Indian Citizenship Act, the authority to deal with Citizenship and nationality is the Union Home Ministry. 
He pointed out that Aldona-resident Melvyn Fernandes has also filed a petition before the Union Home Ministry to determine the citizenship of Aldona MLA Glen Ticlo on grounds that the latter has acquired Portuguese citizenship. [H]