National

Lalit Modi offered board seat to Sushma’s husband in family firm

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her husband Swaraj Kaushal at Parliament House in June 2004. Lalit Modi reportedly sought the appointment of Mr. Swaraj Kaushal as a director in a firm headed by his father K.K. Modi.  

A fresh controversy involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in connection with her links to Lalit Modi erupted on Wednesday after it emerged that the former IPL chief offered her husband a position on the board of one of his family-run firms.

The new controversy gave more ammunition for the Congress to target the Narendra Modi government in the escalating Lalit Modi row as the opposition party raised questions of conflict of interest and again demanded Ms. Swaraj’s resignation.

Ms. Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal was offered the position of director to alternate for the controversial former IPL chief on the board of Indofil Industries, an integrated chemical company.

The offer was made to Mr. Kaushal in April this year, months after Ms. Swaraj helped Mr. Lalit Modi get urgent travel documents in the U.K., according to TV channels.

Mr. Lalit Modi later withdrew the offer before it could be considered by the board. He is currently based in the U.K.

Mr. Lalit Modi’s father and Indofil CMD K.K. Modi said the proposal was withdrawn before it could be brought for consideration by the board.

“So the board never considered that request. That’s the current situation,” he said.

“Lalit didn’t give him (Mr. Swaraj Kaushal) power but a proposal that Kaushal be appointed as alternate director of company,” Mr. K.K. Modi said, adding “(when) he’s not on the board so where is the conflict of interest”.

“No director can be appointed without following the rules and regulations which are laid out by law,” Mr. K.K. Modi said.

Mr. Kaushal acknowledged that he had been offered a position on the Indofil board.

Stating that he is a lawyer for Mr. Lalit Modi for over 20 years, Mr. Kaushal said he was offered to be alternate director on Indofil board but he did not give his consent and that the request was withdrawn.

The Congress again trained its guns on Ms. Swaraj, asking her to come clean on the Lalit Modi issue and asked the Prime Minister to break his “deafening silence” on the matter.

“Sushma Swaraj must tell the people of the country how many times she has met Lalit Modi or if any of her family members had been in touch with the fugitive,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

Demanding the dismissal of Ms. Swaraj, he reminded the Prime Minister that the Congress had adhered to the “highest standards of propriety” by asking for resignation of Madhavsinh Solanki and Natwar Singh when allegations were made against them while they were External Affairs Minister.

Tom Vadakkan, another Congress leader, “I think it’s time for the Foreign Minister to sing the national anthem and step down.”

The BJP said the Congress party has run out of ideas and is desperately “clutching at straws”.

“Very routinely people are requested to be directors, lawyers, advocates. The Congress party has run out of ideas and is desperately clutching at straws,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.

Lalit Modi Row: The Cast



>Arun Jaitley
Union Finance Minister, BJP

"All allegations levelled are baseless."

>P. Chidambaram
Former Finance Minister, Congress

"Ensure Modi returns to India for ED probe."

>Sushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister, BJP

Helped Lalit Modi after taking a humanitarian view.

>Sitaram Yechury
General Secretary,
CPI-M

Intervention of Sushma Swaraj is unacceptable

Sushma Swaraj and Keith Vaz are no longer the only ones in the line of fire:

  • » Documents supplied by Lalit Modi's lawyer on Monday revealed that >Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had in August 2011 backed his immigration application on condition it would not be made known to Indian authorities.
  • » On Wednesday Sushma Swaraj was tweeting in response to allegation that her daughter >Bansuri Swaraj got admission to medical school the northeast quota.
  • » > Media baron Rupert Murdoch found his name figure in the controversy. In a TV interview, Mr. Modi said Mr. Murdoch was upset with him.

Hints at fissures in the BJP were made by party member Kirti Azad, who pointed to an in-house conspiracy targeting Sushma:

  • » In his tweets, >Mr. Azad referred to a party insider having a role to play in leaking information about the Minister's recommendation and her family's association with Mr. Modi. Mr. Azad claimed that it was a 'snake in the grass' and a media personality who conspired against Ms. Swaraj.

Armed now with enough ammunition, the opposition trained its guns on the Centre:

  • » Sushma should be sacked, said >Rahul Gandhi: "Lalit Modi is the symbol of black money stashed outside and Sushma Swaraj is protecting him"

Timeline

  • June 4 - First exposé in the London-based Sunday Times on Lalit Modi controversy
    It alleged that senior Labour British parliamentarian of Indian origin Keith Vaz used his influential position as chair of the House of Commons home affairs select committee to help Mr. Modi get his papers to stay in the UK as a temporary resident, despite his position as a fugitive from the law in India.
  • June 7 Mr. Vaz, who did not make any public or media statement, in a post on his website said his email was hacked and confidential information accessed.
    In another post he claims that when he took over there was a passport crisis with 500,000 pending cases in the Home department, which he was able to bring down considerably in five years.
  • June 11 - In a follow up to the first story the next week the name of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj comes in as yet another senior politician who is making a case for Lalit Modi.
    Leaked correspondence shows that Mr. Vaz invoked the names of both Ms. Swaraj and Sir James Bevan, British High Commissioner to India as Mr. Modi’s friends, in order to strengthen his case with the immigration authorities.
  • June 16 - In a TV interview Mr. Modi alleges that media baron Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Times and Sunday Times has masterminded the Sunday Times story.
    He claims that Mr. Murdoch was miffed over a “no exit” clause in the Champions League, and is therefore getting his back.


This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 6, 2021 2:17:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalit-modi-offered-board-seat-to-sushmas-husband-in-family-firm/article7375176.ece

Next Story