National

Sushma just made a compassionate intervention: Prasad

The Government on Wednesday saw as “just a compassionate intervention” Union Minister Sushma Swaraj’s help to tainted former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in securing British travel documents and preferred to wait for “details” with regard to the controversy over Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje allegedly backing his immigration plea.

“As far as impropriety allegation is conerned, I don’t buy that logic. It was just a case of compassionate intervention for a humanitarian cause. That’s all,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters at the Cabinet briefing.

He also said that party chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have already spoken on the issue and he has nothing more to say.

With regard to the surfacing of a document in which Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje allegedly backed Lalit Modi’s immigration plea, Mr. Prasad appeared a bit guarded.

“As regards to the Rajasthan issue, the details will have to be enquired into. The details will have to be taken,” he said, recalling that the Chief Minister had already spoken on the matter on Tuesday.

Mr. Prasad also took pot-shots at former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who on Wednesday demanded release of all letters written to British authorities on the Lalit Modi case during the UPA rule which he said will answer accusations against Congress and him.

“I think Chidambaram is becoming wiser after losing power. That red corner, blue notice or a shade of blue notice was pending for many years,” Mr. Prasad said.

Asserting that his take is very clear on the issue, the Union Minister said, “The proceedings against Mr (Lalit) Modi have been explained by the Finance Minister on Tuesday.

“I have nothing more to add except to reiterate that purely as a case of humanitarian cause because the gentleman’s wife was suffering from cancer, a very limited intervention was made that the government of India had no objection in the event of the government of UK deciding to give him that leave.”

The Union Minister also sounded dismissive of former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s claims in an interview saying Ms. Raje had supported in writing his immigration plea in Britain and that he has a “family” relationship with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj whose husband and daughter had provided legal services “free of cost”.

“I had seen the glimpses of the interview in a very far off exotic place being talked out here,” he said, stressing that even in the documents which have come on television, “there is no signature”.

Mr. Prasad said “no” when asked whether the issues of Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Raje vis-à-vis Lalit Modi, were discussed in the Cabinet meeting.

Refusing to go into the details of the controversy, the Union Minister said, “This is a press conference of Cabinet meeting. Lalit Modi is not the Cabinet. Lalit Modi has spoken about leaders cutting across the party divide. I am not supposed to answer all.”

Mr. Prasad said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated the government’s position very clearly as to how many notices by the ED had been sent in quasi judicial proceedings against Lalit Modi.

Responding to a question on whether the controversy has dented the government’s claims about there not being a single case of corruption or impropriety against it, the minister said there are no allegations of corruption or impropriety against it “and we stand by it (the claim).”

The controversy surrounding Ms. Swaraj’s assistance to Lalit Modi in getting British travel documents had taken a new twist yesterday with the surfacing of a document in which Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje allegedly backed his immigration plea.

The document, whose authenticity has not been confirmed yet, came into circulation just hours after Jaitley backed Swaraj, saying whatever she had done was in good faith and bona fide.

Titled “Witness Statement”, the document, said to have emanated from the Lalit Modi camp, had a confidentiality clause in which Ms. Raje purportedly supported Modi’s case but did not want it to be revealed to Indian authorities.

Late in the evening, Ms. Raje had distanced herself from the document, saying “I do not know what documents they are talking about.”

Hours later Lalit Modi, in a television interview, claimed Ms Raje had supported in writing his immigration plea in Britain and that he has a “family” relationship with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj whose husband and daughter had provided legal services “free of cost”.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 8:25:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalitgate-row-sushma-just-made-compassionate-intervention-says-ravi-shankar-prasad/article7325933.ece

Next Story