NEW DELHI—External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj may not have been allowed to speak in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday after the Congress disrupted proceedings, but the minister now plans to hit back. On Wednesday morning, Swaraj said that she will disclose the name of a senior Congress leader who allegedly pressured her to give a diplomatic passport to an accused in the coal scam.
In a tweet, the minister, who has been accused of conflict of interest for aiding former IPL chairman Lalit Modi in obtaining travel documents, said that a senior Congress leader was pressing her to give diplomatic passport to coal scam accused Santosh Bagrodia.
A senior Congress leader was pressing me hard to give diplomatic passport to the Coal Scam accused Santosh Bagrodia.@ANI_news— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 22, 2015
On being asked to name the leader, she said she will reveal it on the floor of the House.
I will disclose name of the leader on the floor of the House.@imTejasBarot— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) July 22, 2015
Santosh Bagrodia was the minister of state for coal under prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2008-2009. He has been named as an accused in a case linked to the illegal allocation of a coal block in Maharashtra to a private company. On Tuesday, he was summoned by a special CBI court.
As the Parliament convened for the Monsoon Session on Tuesday, the Narendra Modi government walked into a storm of sorts. The Congress-led Opposition disrupted the House proceeding twice in the Rajya Sabha, forcing it to be adjourned for the day. The Lok Sabha also was adjourned for the day over the Lalit Modi controversy.
The Congress has demanded the resignation of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over their links with the former IPL chief.
On Tuesday, Swaraj said she was ready for a debate in parliament over Congress allegations about her links with Lalit Modi. “I am ready for a debate today itself. I asked Arun Jaitley to convey this to Rajya Sabha,” the minister said in a tweet.
When the Opposition had raked up the issue of Lalit Modi in the Question Hour of Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government was ready for a discussion on the issue. However, the Congress had chosen instead to disrupt proceedings.
If Swaraj's tweet is any indication, the BJP is likely to fight allegation with allegation as it takes on the Congress.