Former cricket administrator Lalit Modi has admitted that he sought and received help from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, but has argued that they were only helping in undoing a wrong done to him by the previous UPA government. “I have a family and legal relationship with the Sushma Swaraj family; it is a close relationship,” Mr Modi said adding that his relationship with Ms. Raje went back 30 years.
Talking to the India Today channel in his first interview after it came to light that Ms. Swaraj intervened with the U.K. government to facilitate his travel while his Indian passport remained revoked, Mr. Modi said he was a victim of the UPA’s political vendetta. Mr Modi accused the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of “arm-twisting the U.K. government,” into denying residency to him. “I did ask Sushma’s help,” he said adding that he would have made a similar plea to any other External Affairs Minister in office. “The U.K. government had to be told that there is a different government in Delhi,” Mr. Modi said.
He said he had the original papers signed by the Rajasthan Chief Minister in support of his immigration, and said Ms. Raje was by the side of his wife when she underwent treatment for cancer in his absence. “Raje and Sushma supported me when my wife was sick,” he said.
Mr. Modi said there are several court verdicts in the U.K. and one by the Delhi High Court that held the revocation of his passport illegal. “I could have easily given up the Indian passport and taken the passport of another country. But I wanted to prove a point and I stand vindicated today,” he said. According to Mr. Modi, when it became clear that the Indian government had no legal leg to stand on, it began pressuring the U.K. government informally and illegally. “I have obtained all those communications under the right to information law in the U.K.,” he said. Mr. Modi said the BCCI committee led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that held him guilty of wrongdoing in the running of the IPL had not given him an opportunity to defend himself. “They knew that I was right and they were in the wrong,” he said. “I face serious risk to my life in India, and that is the reason I am not coming to India.”