Lalit Modi row: BJP MP R.K. Singh speaks out against Sushma, Vasundhara Raje

Helping a fugitive is legally and morally wrong, says former Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh

Updated - November 16, 2021 07:53 pm IST

Published - June 23, 2015 04:05 pm IST - New Delhi

File photo of BJP MP and former Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh.

File photo of BJP MP and former Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh.

BJP MP R.K. Singh on Tuesday struck a discordant note over party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje extending help to the tainted former IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi, saying this is “legally and morally wrong”.

Mr. Singh, a former Union Home Secretary, termed Mr. Modi a bhagoda (fugitive). The government should take all measures to bring Mr. Modi, who is currently in the U.K., back to India to face the law, he said in New Delhi.

Mr. Lalit Modi was evading judicial warrants and summons and he was clearly a fugitive and any help given to him or any meeting with him was wrong, Mr. Singh said.

He, however, did not name either Ms. Swaraj or Ms. Raje.

Asked if Mr. Lalit Modi was being “saved”, he said the departments concerned should be doing their job.

“I have given my view,” he said when asked about the BJP’s defence of both the party leaders. He would not like to name individuals, he added.

“All measures should be taken to bring him [Mr. Modi] back to India, so that he faces the law,” he said.

Mr. Singh’s strong comments in the first public criticism by a BJP MP against the help extended to Mr. Modi by Ms. Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, and Ms. Raje, the Rajasthan Chief Minister, came even as the Congress said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was >“losing political capital” by trying to protect the two leaders through his continued silence on the “indefensible issue.“

The comments came a day after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari met Ms. Raje in Jaipur and said the BJP, as well as the Central government, were strongly behind her as “accusations” against her have “no substance” and that the allegations against her were baseless and she was “legally, logically, ethically completely correct.“

Mr. Gadkari’s defence came amid the raging row over the linkages of the Chief Minister and her son Dushyant with Mr. Lalit Modi, who is facing an ED probe for alleged money laundering in an IPL tournament.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is under attack from the Opposition for describing the deal between Ms. Raje’s son and Mr. Lalit Modi as a “commercial loan transaction,” said in the U.S. that the assessing authorities would continue to do their job in probing the matter.

The row involving Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Raje has snowballed into a major political storm for the Narendra Modi government even though the BJP has defended both the leaders.

Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Raje have been facing flak for helping Mr. Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the U.K., a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.

Rajasthan PCC president Sachin Pilot while targeting the Prime Minister demanded the resignation of Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Raje.

“The PM’s words — Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga [neither will I take bribe, nor will I allow anyone to take bribe] — have come to haunt him. He is losing political capital and he and his party have been fully exposed. BJP is obstinate on this issue but we will not let the issue die down,” he told reporters in Jaipur.

Top developments:

1 Mr. Modi alleged that Mr. Jaitley had control over the BCCI for decades and had continued to stick by his “oldest friend” — former Board president N. Srinivasan — even after the media and the court found him guilty. >Read more
2 A report in the Sunday Times said Mr. Modi had used the names of Prince of Wales Charles and Duke of York Prince Andrew in support of his claim for a travel permit. >Read more
3 Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria admitted that he had met Mr. Modi in London last year, but clarified that he had asked him to return to Mumbai and lodge a case in connection with underworld threats to his life. >Read more
4 Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked Mr. Maria to “provide information officially to the government as to what he has said in the media”. >Read more
5 Mr. Modi had dismissed allegations levelled against him in the controversy, saying that he was being targeted as part of a political conspiracy aimed at destabilising the Narendra Modi government. >Read more
6 Mr. Modi's counsel Mehmood Abdi accused former UPA Ministers Salman Khursheed, P. Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor of being behind the current controversy.
7 BJP MP Kirti Azad, hinting at a feud within the party on Twitter, referred to a party insider playing a role in leaking information about Ms. Swaraj’s recommendation and her family’s association with Mr. Modi. >Read more
8 The U.K. said it will not probe into the allegations against Labour party MP Keith Vaz. The Commissioner for Standards examined a complaint of conflict-of-interest and dismissed it for lack of sufficient evidence. >Read more
9 The Union government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh came out in full support of Ms. Swaraj. Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said the recommendation was made on “humanitarian” and not “moral” grounds. >Read more
10 Ms. Swaraj defended her decision to recommend travel documents for former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, after taking a "humanitarian view" and asserted that she asked the British government to examine his request and follow the rules.
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