Running into anybody not a crime: Cong on Lalit Modi tweets

New Delhi, (PTI): Congress today hit back after Lalit Modi said he had “run into” Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra in a London restaurant, saying it was a case of ‘chhota Modi’ helping ‘bada Modi’ (Narendra Modi) with lies”.

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Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala insisted that neither Priyanka nor her husband ever interacted socially with the former IPL boss and running into anybody in a restaurant was not a crime.

He said Lalit Modi was working at the behest of BJP to divert attention to “non-issues” and reiterated the main opposition’s demand for resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for their help to him.

In a sharp attack on the BJP, he said it should tell its “black money stooges to not rely on red-herrings” and the government answer to people about accusations levelled at Swaraj and Raje. “I can say with full responsibility that neither Priyanka Gandhi nor Robert Vadra ever interacted with Lalit Modi socially. If you see somebody in a restaurant, it is not a crime. ‘Chhota Modi’ is helping ‘bada Modi’ with lies.

“It is a diversionary tactic of the BJP to take attention to non-issues. The government should speak about real issue and not hide behind Lalit Modi,” Surjewala told reporters. Lalit Modi had last night tweeted, “Happy to meet the Gandhi family… in London. I had run into Robert and Priyanka separately”.

Surjewala said Swaraj and Raje helped a fugitive accused of “fraud of gigantic proportions” and noted how Swaraj spoke to the British envoy in India to help Lalit Modi without consulting with her ministry officials.

Raje, he added, gave an affidavit to the UK government in his favour with a condition that it should not be made known to Indian authorities. “The government must explain why they did it.”

He also asked the Centre to release official communication of the interaction between then Finance Minister P Chidambaram and his British counterpart in which Chidambaram strongly pushed for deportation of Lalit Modi from UK to India.

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