Opposition parties on Sunday slammed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and demanded her resignation for “helping” scam-tainted former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the U.K., a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.
The RSS, however, defended Ms. Swaraj, saying whatever she might have done would have been guided by her “humane” nature and “nationalistic” spirit.
“I did not expect that Foreign Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ji would help Lalit Modi, against whom government has issued a look-out notice, procure travel documents... I appeal to Sushma Swaraj ji to immediately resign on moral ground,” senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said.
His comment came after reports surfaced that Ms. Swaraj had written to British lawmaker Keith Vaz to allegedly recommend travel documents for Lalit Modi for visiting Portugal. Ms. Swaraj said she had written to Mr. Vaz on “humanitarian grounds” after Lalit Modi said his wife was ill.
Digvijaya Singh noted that Lalit Modi is facing probe by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and has been served a notice by it, asking him to appear before it.
“If such a person is recommended by the Foreign Minister to Indian-origin British lawmaker Keith Vaz for help in getting the travel documents in the UK which he gets within 24 hours, then it is a serious issue,” the Congress leader said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should clarify whether or not this was done with his “consent.”
Mr. Singh’s party colleague Sachin Pilot said the Prime Minister “must himself answer as to why they (government) have been helping, supporting people who have been associated with all sorts of illegal transactions, who have run away from the country and are living overseas trying to avoid Indian law.”
JD(U) spokesman K.C. Tyagi also said, “I condemn the help given to him (Lalit Modi) by Swaraj.”
CPI leader D. Raja said the matter was serious because Ms. Swaraj has admitted to “helping” Lalit Modi who is wanted in the country for economic offences and has been avoiding coming to the country.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes an explanation to the country on impropriety committed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj,” he said.