National

‘Lalit offered Swaraj Kaushal job on Indofil Board’

The "nexus and quid pro quo" between the two had been established beyond doubt, says the Congress.

With reports that the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi offered Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s husband, Swaraj Kaushal, a job as recently as April this year, the Congress said on Wednesday that the “nexus and quid pro quo” between the two had been established beyond doubt.

Mr. Swaraj told a TV news agency that since he had not given his consent to be an alternative director on the Indofil Board in place of Mr. Modi, the offer was withdrawn. The Congress and the Communist Party of India reiterated the demand for the resignation of Ms. Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje and a high-level investigation into the alleged nexus between Mr. Modi and the two BJP leaders.

The Congress said the offer from Mr. Modi established the “nexus and the closeness” between the two families. The party turned the heat on the Modi government and especially the Prime Minister for his silence on the issue. “There has rarely been a government that has evaded questions of legal, moral, ethical culpability of its Ministers,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

He said the Congress-led UPA did not wait for convictions by a court of law when Ministers had tendered resignations on moral grounds after improprieties were alleged. “Did Ashwani Kumar or Natwar Singh wait for courts to pronounce verdicts? It was a question of morality,” he said referring to the Ministers’ resignations during the UPA regime.

“The Prime Minister owes it to the nation to break this deafening silence,” Mr. Singhvi said.

The Congress, which had pressed the allegation for the last two days that Mr. Lalit Modi and Ms. Raje had together converted the Dholpur Palace — a State-owned entity — into a private hotel, said on Wednesday that the BJP was trying to obfuscate the issue by contesting the claim. “The issue is not the title ownership but that Mr. Modi admittedly invested in the Chief Minister’s son’s business,” Mr. Singhvi said adding that the transactions established a close nexus between Ms. Raje and Mr. Modi, who “remains a fugitive”.

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.


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Printable version | May 31, 2020 11:14:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalit-offered-job-to-sushmas-husband-on-indofil-board/article7375548.ece

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