Principal opposition party has signaled that the stand-off with Narednra Modi government over Lalit Modi controversy will continue in the Parliament as well. Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has questioned the Prime Minister for his silence over the matter, while claiming that the Congress party will raise this issue in monsoon session due next month.
“We will raise issue in monsoon session (of Parliament) and try to convince other political parties,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the news agency ANI.
“Everyone spoke, even Lalit Modi spoke but the PM is silent over this,” the senior Opposition leader added.
Union External Affairs 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.
Ever since the controversy has broken out, Congress party has resorted to an aggressive posture demanding resignation of two. Their cadres and workers even held protest outside the official residence of Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi, whereas the state unit demonstrated in Jaipur against Rajasthan CM Vasundhra Raje.
The issue of two of its prominent leaders caught in Lalit Modi controversy has even got BJP leadership worried with reports of BJP President Amit Shah meeting Prime Minister Modi late on Thursday evening to discuss the possible fallouts of the entire episode.
The ruling NDA government had run into an aggressive opposition in the last Budget session, especially in Rajya Sabha where it is in minority, over the issue of Ordinance on Land Acquisition and acute agrarian crises. With key legislation like GST bill and land ordinance pending, the government may be facing another round of impasse with Opposition not relenting on Lalit Modi issue.
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 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 the PTI)