Raje, Lalit Modi running government palace as private hotel, says Congress

The controversy over dealings between the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje refused to die down on Monday.

The Congress stoked it further by releasing a fresh set of documents and alleging that the two, as business partners, had “forcibly and illegally occupied” the Dholpur Royal Palace which is otherwise a government property, and converted it into a hotel. The BJP rejected the charge as baseless, dismissing the renewed demand for Ms. Raje’s resignation.

In a change of strategy, the Congress has decided to focus its attention on the dealings between Ms. Raje and Mr. Modi. It plans to take up the issue of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation closer to the monsoon session of Parliament next month. Sources in the BJP said the party would counter the Congress campaign by asking what action the Congress-run government in Rajasthan did to stop the alleged illegalities when it was in power till 2013.

In its sustained campaign for ouster of the Chief Minister, the Congress produced copies of land revenue records from 1954 to 2010 from the State government which showed Dholpur Royal Palace as government property. It alleged that sometime in 2010, Ms. Raje and Mr. Modi “converted the government property into a private property.”

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that Lalit Modi had illegally brought in Rs. 22 crore to India “through a fake company in Mauritius” and invested Rs. 11.6 crore into Niyant Heritage Hotel Private Limited — a company owned by Ms. Raje, her son Dushyant Singh, his wife Niharika Singh and Mr. Modi.

On the basis of the documents released on Monday, Mr. Ramesh claimed that the Dholpur Riyasat merged with the Indian Union on April 10, 1954 after which the palace became government property. A statement by Ms. Raje’s husband, Hemant Singh, in a Rajasthan court in April 1980, said that the palace was declared government property after the merger. The BJP’s Rajasthan unit maintained that the said property was inherited by the Jhalawar MP. BJP sources in Delhi said that the matter was settled by a court.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 2:51:40 AM |

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