Another dimension was added in an on-going Lalit Modi controversy with reports that Swaraj Kaushal, husband of Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, received a job offer earlier this year from a firm owned by Lalit Modi. Swaraj Kaushal and the couple’s daughter have been long standing lawyers for Lalit Modi.
Sushma Swaraj is already 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 At that time, Lalit Modi’s passport was revoked by the Indian authorities due to a probe over alleged corruption in popular cricket series IPL, which he headed till 2010.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.
And now with the reports surfacing about the purported job offer to Swaraj Kaushal by Lalit Modi’s firm, Congress party along with other opposition parties once again demanded the Union minister’s resignation.
“One of the minister’s kin is lawyer of the fugitive Lalit Modi and other was offered a job…At the highest echelons of the government, one is silent and other is giving a clean chit,” Congress party’s senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
“We want the Prime Minister to speak. He is our PM and the PM of the nation. He owes it to the nation to break his silence,” Singhvi added.
But BJP once again defended Union External Affairs minister and rejected the allegations of conflict of interest claiming that charges doesn’t hold any merit as Swaraj Kaushal never accepted the job offer.
Besides, the Congress party also sought Narendra Modi government for the complete disclosure of correspondence between the government of India and the UK authorities concerning Lalit Modi.
“Minutes of the meeting in which help for Lalit Modi was sought have been recorded. They are with the External Affairs Ministry and they should be made public,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told the press on Wednesday.
The principal opposition party also demanded the release of all correspondence made by the Congress-led UPA government with the UK over the issue of extradition of Lalit Modi and the letters written by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram to the UK authorities on the issue.
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)