NEW DELHI — Opposition parties ramped up their attack on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday, asking for Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje's and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's resignation following the biggest scandal to have hit the Narendra Modi government this year.
A proposal asking for Vasundhara Raje's resignation was passed by the Rajasthan State Congress in their executive meeting in Udaipur today, after it came to light that Raje had clandestinely helped former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi get British travel documents despite his passport being revoked by the Indian government due to his alleged involvement in a graft case.
In his first interview since the Indian media broke the story, the former IPL commissioner confirmed his "close" relations with both Swaraj and Raje. Modi said Swaraj's husband had been his advocate for over 20 years and her daughter had provided him legal services for the past four years, but the family did not charge him any fee. Raje had even taken Modi's wife to a cancer hospital in Lisbon on his behalf.
After Modi made allegations against the previous UPA government, senior Congress party leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday demanded that the present NDA government should release all letters written to the UK Chancellor involving Lalit Modi "in the interest of transparency." Modi has claimed that the Congress was taking revenge against him after Tharoor lost his ministerial position after the IPL scam.
"The complete answer to Mr. Lalit Modi's accusations against the UPA can be found in the letters to the UK Chancellor," Chidambaram tweeted.
In the interest of transparency, Government of India should release the letters written to the UK Chancellor on the Lalit Modi case.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 14, 2015
The complete answer to Mr. Lalit Modi's accusations against the UPA can be found in the letters to the UK Chancellor. Release them.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 17, 2015
It has also come to light that Modi allegedly paid Raje's son Dushyant Singh, a BJP MP from Jhalawar-Baran, a sum of Rs 11.63 crore as investment in his firm Niyant Heritage Hotels Pvt Ltd (NHHPL) in April 2008.
Of the amount invested, Rs 3.80 crore was a loan given to Singh's company, while the rest was paid to acquire 815 shares. According to ED, this was an unusual price for the shares (at Rs 10 at a premium of Rs 96,180 each), reported The Times of India.
The Congress has demanded Raje's and Swaraj's resignation for helping Modi, who they called "an economic offender and a fugitive".
Swaraj should step down and Raje should also resign for "helping Lalit Modi, an economic offender and fugitive," spokesperson Shobha Ojha told reporters.
Ojha also targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his silence in the matter so far showed that "there is a mute support by the PM to these leaders". She called for a Supreme Court-monitored Special Investigation Team to investigate the case.
Helping a person (Lalit Modi) who has serious charges against him, is a very serious matter: PL Punia, Congress pic.twitter.com/yqMgeNlfnN— ANI (@ANI_news) June 17, 2015
Besides, she said the party wanted a Supreme Court monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) to go into the Modigate.
She dismissed as laughable BJP's charge that Congress was targeting women leaders of BJP. "Since they want to hide their crimes, they are raising the gender issue which is condemnable and laughable," she said.
Taking a dig at Modi government, she said that Modigate showed "achche din" for economic offenders like Lalit Modi with the entire government coming to his rescue.
Meanwhile former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who has relentlessly targeted Raje for her close relationship with Modi, said that he had nothing to add to Modi and Raje's relationship, as the entire country is aware of their ties. "Time will tell what decision PM Narendra Modi and the Govt will take on the matter," said Gehlot to news agency ANI.
This means she (V Raje) knew she is breaking law; BJP must come clean on this,PM must break his silence: Sachin Pilot pic.twitter.com/FrKbFGdq2f— ANI (@ANI_news) June 17, 2015
The Aam Aadmi Party too has come out in strong condemnation of BJP. Party leader Ashish Khetan criticised BJP for its hypocrisy on the black money issue.
It's clear, this Govt only brought achhe din for legal offenders and people who stock black money: Ashish Khetan, AAP pic.twitter.com/KHmWUCjB3n— ANI (@ANI_news) June 17, 2015
(With inputs from PTI)