New Delhi (ND TV): Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today told Parliament that she extended no favours to former cricket boss Lalit Modi, an allegation that has led to the opposition demanding her resignation, without which, the Congress has said, it will not allow Parliament to function.
“Present one note, letter or email that shows I asked the UK government to provide Lalit Modi travel papers,” she said.
Last year, Lalit Modi, who left the country in 2010 surrounded by a series of corruption cases, was allowed to accompany his wife from London to Portugal for her medical treatment. Mrs Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha that the only assurance she offered to the UK government was that if it chose to give him travel documents, relations with India would not be affected. “I urged them to follow their own rules and regulations,” she said, adding, “I did not seek to influence their decisions”. Reiterating her defense of acting on “humanitarian grounds,” she said, “Lalit Modi’s wife faces no criminal case. Why should she be deprived of the support of her husband while being treated for cancer?”
“I want to ask Sonia Gandhi, what would you have done in my place?” the minister posed. Like most of the opposition, Mrs Gandhi had boycotted Parliament today.
This session of Parliament has been blocked with the Congress adamant that it will not call off protests within the Houses unless the government removes Mrs Swaraj and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for close links to Lalit Modi. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan must also be sacked, the Congress says, for his alleged involvement in a massive job recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.
The government has said resignations are out of the question, but the PM will cede to the opposition’s request to comment on the controversies in Parliament as soon as a debate begins. The Congress has spurned that offer. 25 of its 44 Lok Sabha MPs have been suspended for five days for bad behaviour.