Stepping up the attack on BJP leadership over the Lalit Modi controversy, the Congress on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was losing political capital by trying to protect the External Affairs Minister and the Rajasthan Chief Minister through his continued silence on the “indefensible issue.”
The party alleged that Union Ministers were also giving clean chit to both the leaders without any investigation and probe, thus “exposing” the double standards of the BJP.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot, while demanding the resignation of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje for helping the former IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi, said that the allegations against them were levelled by Mr. Lalit Modi himself and not the Congress.
'Resign on legal, ethical and moral grounds'
“The allegations against the BJP leaders were have not been brought by Congress. We, as the Congress party, demand their resignations on legal, ethical and moral grounds,” Mr. Pilot said at a press conference here.
“Ministers in the Government of India are neither heads of investigation agencies nor judges in the court of law and it is very surprising that they, before investigation is conducted or finished by Enforcement Directorate, are giving clean chit to people against whom there are serious allegations,” he said.
“No one in the party and the government is denying the existence of these documents. The BJP said that till the documents were verified, they would not ask for her resignation but it will take the Government of India one hour to verify authenticity of those documents,” he said.
'PM losing political capital'
Mr. Pilot said the Prime Minister's silence on the "indefensible issue" had exposed him and he was losing political capital day by day.
“The PM’s words — Na Khaunga Na Khande 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. The BJP is obstinate on this issue but we will not let the issue die down,” he said adding that the party would raise it in Parliament and in State Assemblies.
“Mr. Lalit Modi, who is alleged to have created black money and is fugitive of law, was helped by BJP leaders and this is also breach of law and violation of sections of IPC and CrPC," he said.
Demanding Ms. Raje’s resignation to clear the way for a thorough investigation, the Congress leader said, “the Maharashtra government sought clarification from the Mumbai Police Commissioner regarding his meeting with Mr. Lalit Modi on the basis of a photograph but in the case of Ms. Raje, there is a clear backing”.
Allegations against Gehlot's son
When asked about the BJP’s allegations on the son of the former Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, about an illegal transaction linked to a Mauritius-based company, Mr. Pilot said Mr. Gehlot had clarified his stand. He, however, observed that “everyone is equal before law, irrespective of political affiliation.”
“The former Chief Minister has already said that a probe by a sitting judge of a High Court can be conducted on allegations against his son; so nothing is left to say anything on this now,” the PCC leader said.
The Congress would hold a protest here on Wednesday, demanding the resignation of both Ms. Raja and Ms. Swaraj, he said.