NEW DELHI — The first voice of dissent in the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party, currently grappling with the embarrassment of revelations that two of its senior leaders helped fugitive Lalit Modi, belongs to a former home secretary and party MP.
RK Singh told a news channel that BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje should not have helped Modi, who is an absconder. Although the party has stood solidly behind both, Raje and Swaraj have faced flak for helping Modi procure residency and travel documents, respectively, in the UK, at a time when his passport was revoked by India and he was being investigated for forex violations.
Modi, a former chairman of the Indian Premier League, moved to London in 2010 when investigative agencies produced summons against him in various cases involving money laundering.
"Lalit Modi is an absconder and no one should help him. The government should file a case to revoke his passport. It is wrong on the part of others to help him. He should immediately be brought back, he's an offender. He should be ready to face law," Singh told CNN IBN.
No foreign journey can be made without written consent. No hospitality can be taken without written consent either: RK Singh on Rakesh Maria— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) June 22, 2015
A police commissioner meeting an absconder is not correct: RK Singh (BJP) on Lalit Modi case— ANI (@ANI_news) June 23, 2015
I am sure there are several others like RK Singh ji in BJP party who are of the same view: Sachin Pilot (Cong) pic.twitter.com/rTPH6jsnbN— ANI (@ANI_news) June 23, 2015
Singh also slammed Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria for meeting Modi in London.
"Rakesh Maria should not have helped or met Lalit Modi. He cannot travel abroad without government's permission on papers. You can't just go on a trip and say it is an official duty, unless investigation or warrant basis," he said.
Maria has submitted a detailed report to the Maharashtra Government after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis sought clarification from him.
Maria had said that he was approached by an advocate representing Modi who stated that the former IPL boss wanted to meet him. Modi had requested for the Mumbai Police's intervention against the underworld during the meeting.
The Congress Party used Singh's comments to accuse the BJP of "double standards".
"First BJP says Lalit Modi will be arrested the moment he comes to India, and then, they say the help was extended on humanitarian ground. The double standards of BJP have been exposed. I would have expected the Prime Minister to live up to his words of 'no corruption'," Congress leader Sachin Pilot said.
"Prime Minister Modi's famous words 'na khaunga, na khane dunga' (neither will I take bribe, nor will I allow anyone to take bribe) have come back to haunt him. I am sure there are several others like R.K. Singh in the BJP who are of the same view," he added.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that assessing authorities in India would continue to do their job with regard to the probe into the over Rs 11 crore transaction between BJP MP Dushyant Singh and Lalit Modi.
Singh, son of Rajasthan Chief Minister Raje, has been under attack over media reports that his company received Rs11.63 crore in investments from Modi in 2008.
(With inputs from agencies)