A screenshot of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's Twitter page taken on Saturday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said she has not recommended travel documents for the former IPL honcho Lalit Modi who is wanted by the Enforcement Directorate for the his alleged role in money laundering. The Minister, whose resignation is being demanded by the Opposition for helping Mr. Lalit Modi, stressed that she had left it to British authorities to take a decision on his plea for documents.
On Saturday, replying to a tweet, Ms. Swaraj said: “You got it right. I am saying this time and again that I never requested or recommended travel documents for Lalit Modi”.
In response to questions on her involvement in securing documents for Mr. Modi, she tweeted: “I left this to the UK Government to decide under their own laws and regulations. And that is what they did.”
On June 14, 2015, the Minister had >tweeted that sometime in July 2014, Mr. Lalit Modi had spoken to her about his wife suffering from cancer and her surgery that was fixed in Portugal, for which he had to be present in the hospital to sign the consent papers.
She had also tweeted that she had been informed that the U.K. government was prepared to give Mr. Lalit Modi travel documents, but they were restrained by a UPA government communication that this would spoil India-U.K. relations. “Taking a humanitarian view, I conveyed to the British High Commissioner that, British Government should examine the request of Lalit Modi as per British rules and regulations. If the British Government chooses to give travel documents to Lalit Modi – that will not spoil our bilateral relations,” Ms. Swaraj had earlier stated in her tweets.
But on Saturday, the Minister asserted that role had been incorrectly portrayed and that despite her offer to make a statement in Parliament, “falsehoods” are being spread. “I accepted a debate on the very first day of the Parliament session. Congress members are not allowing a debate,” she tweeted.
The first week of the monsoon session was a washout as an aggressive Opposition has been demanding the resignation of Ms. Swaraj for helping an “absconder”.
Replying to another question on why she has not addressed the press to clarify her stand, Ms. Swaraj said in her tweet: “As a Minister I am accountable to the Parliament. That is the only forum to inform the nation.” She also denied any special favour to the former IPL boss by stating: “I help people every day. That too on a single tweet” and also said that Mr. Lalit Modi’s wife had been suffering from cancer for the last 17 years and this was the 10th recurrence of cancer.
Lalit Modi's web of influence
First link with cricket. Becomes pan-India director of ESPN on 10-year contract. Sushma Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal is already Lalit Modi’s lawyer.
Joins the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association. Thrown out within a year on bribery charges.
Vasundhara Raje becomes Chief Minister of Rajasthan. He uses his wife’s family friendship with her to get into Rajasthan Cricket Association under the name Lalit Kumar. Becomes president of RCA.
Rajasthan government takes over RCA, Modi becomes chairman of RCA. Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar, N. Srinivasan and Co. take charge at BCCI. Modi inducted into BCCI working committee. Soon elevated to vice-president.
Subhash Chandra starts Indian Cricket League or ICL.
BCCI empowers Lalit Modi to start Indian Premier League or IPL. First IPL team auction held. Later, ED would question if he told winning bidders how much to bid by revealing bid amounts. This is the year Modi invests Rs. 11 crore in Niyant Heritage Hotels, owned by Dushyant Singh, son of Vasundhara Raje.
In these two years, IPL grows rapidly. Many of Modi’s acts during this period come under ED scrutiny. For eg, did MSM, formerly Sony Entertainment, pay $80 million to World Sports Group to back out of contract? Did Modi get a $25 million cut from this? Did he use this to buy a jet? Did his wife invest Rs. 10 crore in Rajasthan-based Indian Heritage Hotels through a Mauritius-based company?
IPL expands to include more teams. Modi tries to block Kochi Tuskers’ bid because he is allegedly keen to back a Videocon-backed bid. He tweets about Shashi Tharoor’s then-girlfriend Sunanda Pushkar having an interest in the team. Shashi Tharoor is forced to resign as Minister of State for External Affairs. The ED starts investigating Modi and the cases pile up. Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri is Modi’s lawyer.
Modi removed from IPL. ED files eight charges. Modi flees country. Passage to London smoothed by Vasundhara Raje’s e-mail to Keith Vaz, British MP, which she requests is kept secret from Indian government. Modi passport revoked.
On Swaraj Kaushal’s request, Modi mails Keith Vaz asking for an admission in Sussex college for Sushma Swaraj’s nephew.
Modi wants to go to Portugal, ostensibly to visit wife hospitalised there. Sushma Swaraj writes to UK government, requesting for letter of passage for Modi. Two months later, the same hospital group, Champalimaud, signs an MoU with Rajasthan government. Meanwhile, Delhi High Court sets aside Modi’s passport revocation. Government does not appeal.
British newspaper Sunday Times does an exposé of Keith Vaz’s favours for Lalit Modi. Indian media picks up story. Skeletons tumble out.