The issue of two of its prominent leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhra Raje caught in Lalit Modi controversy has got the BJP leadership worried. According to the news agency PTI, BJP President Amit Shah met Prime Minister Modi to discuss the issue which has got the opposition and especially the Congress party raise demands for the sacking of both Sushma and Raje.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is facing allegations of ‘helping out’ former IPL boss Lalit Modi with his travel papers last year at the time when his passport was under revocation by the Indian authorities. Rajasthan CM too is embroiled amid allegations of helping out Lalit Modi for his immigration to UK on the terms of strict secrecy.
According to PTI, Shah, who had gone to the PM’s residence along with a delegation of UP farmers on Thursday evening, had a detailed discussion with the Prime Minister over Lalit Modi controversy.
BJP President Amit Shah is learnt to have discussed the strategy to counter the Opposition which has been demanding the resignation of two leaders.
The controversy unfolded on Sunday morning with reports in the British press that Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had last year helped out Lalit Modi with his travel papers to attend his ailing wife in Lisbon, Portugal. Lalit Modi has been facing a probe by Enforcement Directorate overt the alleged corruption in cricket tournament IPL since 2010. At the time when he had sought Ms Swaraj’s help, his passport was under revocation by the Indian authorities. Besides, she is also facing the allegations of ‘conflict of interest’ and acting in a questionable manner to lend “humanitarian” help to Lalit Modi as her husband Mr. Swaraj Kaushal and daughter has been long-standing lawyers of Lalit Modi.
Ms Swaraj on her part has claimed that her help was only a “humanitarian” concern to let Lalit Modi attend his wife’s surgery. The government too have backed her with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley claiming that her “intentions were bonafide” and allegations against her have no merit.
But the controversy deepened late on Tuesday evening after the PR agency representing the interests of Lalit Modi released documents citing Vasundhra Raje of purportedly assuring help to Lalit Modi for his immigration on the condition that her name shall never figure before the Indian authorities. Besides, the Rajasthan CM is also facing allegations of financial interest between Lalit Modi and the firm owned by Raje’s son Dushyant Singh.
On Friday, both the Centre and the state unit of the BJP in Rajasthan strongly defended Raje and her son Dushyant Singh. The party said, Dushyant’s financial dealings with Lalit Modi were not illegitimate and all taxes were paid.
On her part, Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje reacted by denying any knowledge about the said documents, though she admitted of having known the Lalit Modi family for a long time.
“Of course I know the family. I have always known them…(But) I do not know what documents they are talking about,” she told a news agency in Jaipur.
(With inputs from PTI)