External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday 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.
Local media reports had indicated that Labour MP Keith Vaz had recommended grant of travel documents to Mr. Modi, based on his consultation with the Minister.
Ms. Swaraj put out her statement on the microblogging site Twitter, clarifying that she had pointed out that if British authorities were to give travel documents to Mr. Modi, who has sought the documents to be able to travel to Portugal for the treatment of his wife, India would not object.
Lalit Modi as per British rules and regulations. If the British Government chooses to give travel documents to Lalit Modi,— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) >June 14, 2015
- that will not spoil our bilateral relations.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) >June 14, 2015
“Sometime in July 2014, Lalit Modi spoke to me that his wife was suffering from Cancer and her surgery was fixed for 4th August in Portugal. He told me that he had to be present in the hospital to sign the consent papers,” Ms. Swaraj said in her statement.
The External Affairs Minister admitted speaking to Mr. Vaz and said she told him “precisely” what she had told the British High Commissioner.
Keith Vaz also spoke to me and I told him precisely what I told the British High Commissioner.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) >June 14, 2015
“I genuinely believe that in a situation such as this, giving emergency travel documents to an Indian citizen cannot and should not spoil relations between the two countries. I may also state that only few days later, Delhi High Court quashed the UPA Government’s order impounding Lalit Modi’s Passport on the ground that the said order was unconstitutional being violative of fundamental rights and he got his Passport back,” she said.
Mr. Modi was found guilty of misconduct and indiscipline, which resulted in his >removal and subsequent lifetime ban by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.