Monsoon Session Day 10: Sushma Swaraj Says That She Did Not Request British Government For Lalit Modi's Travel Papers

03/08/2015 12:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj arrives for a meeting at the residence of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, a day ahead of election results in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 15, 2009. India's legion of political parties positioned themselves to form new alliances Thursday as preliminary exit polls from the national election indicated that no party won anything close to a majority in Parliament. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI -- In a statement, which seems to contradict her previous stand on the Lalit Modi scandal, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today that she had never requested the British government to provide Lalit Modi with travel papers, but her voice was drowned out by a volley of shouts from the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

"For the previous seven days, I have sat here to speak on the issue. But there is no debate, there is only disruption," Swaraj said in the upper house of parliament.

"I have never requested the British government for Lalit Modi's travel papers. I never asked the British government for any favour," she said.

The tenth day of the monsoon session today kicked off with the routine disruptions which have marred both houses since parliament convened on July 21.

The Congress Party has demanded resignations of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for helping cricket magnate Lalit Modi, a fugitive, who is being investigated by Indian agencies for money laundering and financial irregularities connected with the Indian Premier League tournament.

The Opposition has also asked for the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam scam.

Ruling out resignations, the Bharatiya Janata Party has offered to debate all these controversies in parliament. The ruling party has also attempted to weaken the Congress Party's position by isolating it within the Opposition. But with crucial bills pending in parliament for the Modi government, and time running out for this session, the BJP called for an all-party meet on Monday to find a way out of the logjam.

A resolution, however, seems unlikely as both sides are digging in their heels. The meeting ended on Monday afternoon without any breakthrough.

Swaraj's statement in parliament today also seemed to contradict her previous stand on the Lalit Modi scandal. Shortly after the scandal broke on June 14, the foreign minister admitted to helping Lalit Modi procure travel documents on "humanitarian grounds" so that he could visit his wife while she was undergoing cancer treatment in August 2014.

Rising to her defence, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today that Swaraj had not done anything immoral or illegal, but merely consulted with the British government if Lalit Modi could be allowed to travel considering that his wife had cancer.

Meanwhile, the BJP once again demanded an apology from Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi for calling Swaraj a "criminal," who should go to jail. Describing these remarks as "childish," Gadkari suggested that Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, a "mature" leader, should apologise on her son's behalf.

Earlier in the day, the Congress Party president attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "maun vrat" over recent controversies to hit BJP.

"Champion of 'Mann Ki Baat' has retreated into the maun vrat," she said at the Congress Parliamentary Party meet today.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also said that Modi has waited too long to address these controversies.

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter |
Contact HuffPost India

More On This Topic