Modi Govt can’t get away on Lalit Modi issue: Congress

RSTV Bureau

Sushma-and-RajeIn a response to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s confidence that the raging controversy surrounding Lalit Modi will not hamper their legislative business in the upcoming Monsoon session of the Parliament, the opposition Congress has once again reiterated their firm stand over the matter. The party is aggressively seeking resignation of Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for helping out Lalit Modi.

“BJP and the Prime Minister want to ride this out… by shamelessly brazening it out. People of India will not allow them to go off the hook without giving an answer. All lame excuses are unacceptable,” Congress party’s senior leader PC Chacko said in New Delhi.

Chacko also attacked Prime Minister Modi, who has thus far maintained silence on the issue. Insisting that the Congress would not allow the government to brush aside the scam that easily, he said Jaitley’s remarks “showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had zero tolerance” for honesty, probity and accountability.

Another senior Congress leader made it known that his party will certainly take on Modi-led NDA government on the floor of the house.

Speaking to Rajya Sabha TV, former Union Law minister Ashwini Kumar said, “the Parliament will not function until the Congress’ legitimate demands are met. As of now, it is the resignation of Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj”.

Earlier on Thursday, while evading a direct response on the controversy, Union minister Arun Jaitley had dispelled the apprehensions of disruption by the opposition.

“Some people may be of relevance to television channels, (but) they have no relevance to governance as far as the Government of India is concerned,” Arun Jaitley had said on Thursday.

The three week monsoon session of the Parliament is slated to begin from July 21 and the Central government is keen to push through its legislative agenda. The session will be a crucial one for the government especially in the wake of a continued stand-off with the Opposition in the Budget session over the issue of Ordinance on land Bill.

Sushma Swaraj is battling the charges of conflict of interest in this major controversy, which began with the reports of her lending help to controversial Lalit Modi.

Though Sushma Swaraj on her part admitted helping out Lalit Modi, she claimed it was on the ‘humanitarian grounds’ as he had to attend his wife’s surgery in Lisbon. At that time, Lalit Modi’s passport was revoked by the Indian authorities due to a probe over alleged corruption in popular cricket series IPL, which he headed till 2010. Since 2010 Lalit Modi has been living in UK.

Along with Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje too is facing a heat in Lalit Modi controversy. The latter is facing allegations of helping out Lalit Modi in his immigration to UK on conditions of secrecy from Indian authorities. Raje’s son Dushyant Singh is also under attack over the allegations of his company receiving Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Lalit Modi in 2008. Dushyant Singh is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan.

And in the latest round of allegations, Congress party claimed that Raje and her son Dushyant along with Lalit Modi allegedly usurped Dholpur Palace, the Rajasthan government property, and converted it into a high-end private luxury hotel.

But BJP refuted with the allegations, claiming that a court order had already specified that Dushyant had the ownership rights of Dholpur Palace and therefore full rights to sell or lease it out.

(With inputs from the PTI)