Jaipur: In a new twist to the row over Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj helping Lalit Modi obtain British travel papers, documents released by the controversial former Indian Premier League boss show that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje agreed to be a secret witness for his immigration application.
According to a three-page note released by Lalit Modi’s public relations team, Ms Raje had supported Lalit Modi’s application for immigration to the UK in 2011, when she was opposition leader, but on condition of strict secrecy.
“This witness statement is provided on the strict understanding that its contents and the identity of its maker are treated confidentially and that it is used only for the purposes stated in it,” says the document dated 18 August 2011, nearly a year after allegations of corruption surfaced against Lalit Modi in connection with the multi-billion dollar cricket league he founded.
The document purported to be Ms Raje’s testimony also says: “I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes, but do so on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authorities.”
NDTV cannot independently verify the document, which has no signature on it and ends abruptly, mid-sentence.
“Of course I know the family (of Lalit Modi), but I do not know what documents are being discussed,” Ms Raje said. Sources close to her highlight the absence of any signatures to establish the authenticity of the note, which was part of a docket mailed by Lalit Modi’s PR team on Tuesday morning.
The Raje documents have been seized by the Congress, which alleges that top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have helped and protected Lalit Modi.
“We never expected Vasundhara Raje to act so foolishly. A person who is chief minister wants to hide facts from Indian authorities… is this her nationalism?” questioned senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh while speaking to NDTV.
Vasundhara Raje’s ties with Lalit Modi soured in 2013 after she distanced herself following corruption allegations against him.
The BJP has come out strongly in support of Sushma Swaraj, who has been attacked by the opposition for supporting Lalit Modi’s plea to travel abroad when his passport was held by Indian authorities because of investigations against him.