National

Sushma, Lalit and a growing cast in the visa row

Youth Congress members wear Lalit Modi and Sushma Swaraj masks during a protest at Teen Murti in New Delhi.

Youth Congress members wear Lalit Modi and Sushma Swaraj masks during a protest at Teen Murti in New Delhi.  

The unfolding saga is becoming crowded with unexpected faces, as new twists emerge and rifts at the helm are exposed.

Less than a week after the Lalit Modi visa controversy became headline news and a trending hashtag, it snowballed, drawing in more players, making unexpected exposés, and revealing fissures within the ruling party.

Here's a snapshot of the many people who now populate the ever-deepening saga, the twists the row has taken and a deconstruction of how the story broke in the United Kingdom:





>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 | Jun 5, 2020 10:53:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sushma-swaraj-lalit-modi-and-the-many-faces-of-the-visa-row/article7329763.ece

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