Ravi Shankar Prasad defends help to former IPL chief
As more allegations surfaced in the Lalit Modi saga and the Congress continued to demand more resignations, and explanations from, senior Ministers in the Modi government, the Bharatiya Janata Party made it clear on Wednesday that it would brazen it out rather than bow to the demands.
The government and the party began describing the entire saga as a Congress conspiracy to malign the government by targeting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who they said is one of the best performing Ministers.
In the case of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who Mr. Lalit Modi claimed had supported his immigration plea in writing, the government left it to Ms. Raje and the State unit of the BJP to defend the revelations emerging against her and her son, Dushyant Singh, Jhalawar-Baran MP.
A fresh set of allegations said Mr. Singh’s firm had allegedly received over Rs. 11.5 crore in loans and investments from Mr. Modi over a period of time while he was in India.
Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad dismissed the charges against the External Affairs Minister and defended the help she extended to the former IPL administrator as “just a compassionate intervention’’.
However, amid reports of the Rajasthan Chief Minister calling up party president Amit Shah to explain her side of the story, Mr. Prasad said he preferred to “wait for details”.
- Lalit Modi has admitted that he sought and received help from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. “I have a family and legal relationship with the Sushma Swaraj family; it is a close relationship,” Mr Modi said adding that his relationship with Ms. Raje went back 30 years. Read more
- Mr. Modi had dismissed allegations levelled against him in the controversy, saying that he was being targeted as part of a political conspiracy aimed at destabilising the Narendra Modi government.Read more
- Mr. Modi’s counsel Mehmood Abdi accused former UPA Ministers Salman Khursheed, P. Chidambaram and Shashi Tharoor of being behind the current controversy.
- Demanding Ms. Swaraj’s resignation, Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said: “The BJP, the External Affairs Minister and the whole government have come out to save an accused of the Enforcement Directorate.” Read more
- BJP MP Kirti Azad, hinting at a feud within the party on Twitter, referred to a party insider playing a role in leaking information about Ms. Swaraj’s recommendation and her family’s association with Mr. Modi.Read more
- The U.K. said it will not probe into the allegations against Labour party MP Keith Vaz. The Commissioner for Standards examined a complaint of conflict-of-interest and dismissed it for lack of sufficient evidence.Read more
- The Union government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh came out in full support of Ms. Swaraj. Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah said the recommendation was made on “humanitarian” and not “moral” grounds.Read more
- Samajwadi Party came out in support of Ms. Swaraj over her help to Lalit Modi, saying what she did was “perfectly alright” and not a “crime” as people in power have to accommodate the requests of people in need. Read more
- Ms. Swaraj defended her decision to recommend travel documents for former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, after taking a “humanitarian view” and asserted that she asked the British government to examine his request and follow the rules.
- Ms. Swaraj put out her statement on the microblogging site Twitter, clarifying that she had pointed out that if British authorities were to give travel documents to Mr. Modi, who has sought the documents to be able to travel to Portugal for the treatment of his wife, India would not object.