The Huffington Post website has backtracked on its list of the richest, removing India’s influential Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s name from it.
Gandhi’s name was listed as the 12th richest with her net worth at $2 billion, even richer than British Queen Elizabeth.
The list attracted widespread attention in India, especially since the nation is in election mode. The elections to Delhi state assembly is on December 4, while the all-important election to the country’s lower house of parliament is sometime in April, May next year.
But, the naming of Gandhi was greeted with scepticism as the website gave no basis for calculating her worth. The name of the former ruler of Qatar was also removed from the list.
The Editor’s note explaining the reason for deleting the two names stated that “Sonia Gandhi and the former emir of Qatar Hamid bin Khalifa al-Thani have been removed from this list. Gandhi was originally included based on a listing on a third party site which was subsequently called into question. Our editors have been unable to verify the amount, removed the link, and regret any confusion. Qatar’s emir was succeeded by his son Tamim in 2013.”
Reacting to the list, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari was quoted by the India Today news website as saying “If Huffington Post would stick to huffing and puffing then I think they would do a much better job for themselves. Because if you do put out these absurd and ridiculous things out in print, then you only open yourself to be made a laughing stock. I would not even like to dignify with a response,” he said.
The Huffington Post had on Monday stated that it was publishing the list “based on available data” without elaborating.
In her declaration in 2009, mandatory for those wanting to contest elections, Gandhi had stated that she neither owned a car nor a house in India. Media reports quoting her affidavit said she had mentioned owning an ancestral home in Italy worth Rs 1.8 million ($29000 approx)
Gandhi’s assets amounted to Rs 13.8 million ($ 0.22 million) with Rs 75,000 ($1203) in cash and Rs 2.86 million ($ 0.05 million) in bank deposits, according to her declaration.