Stepping up its attack on the government over the Sushma Swaraj-Lalit Modi row, the Congress Tuesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to unearth the “nexus” involving the “senior leadership” of the government which is “protecting and helping” Modi. The party brought the Finance and Home Ministries in its line of attack saying the decision not to appeal in the passport case could not have been taken without their knowledge.
The Congress continued to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming Lalit Modi “is a friend” and is personally known to the PM and BJP president Amit Shah. It claimed that Lalit Modi, who secured travel documents from British authorities apparently to go to Portugal to sign consent papers for his wife’s surgery, was holidaying three days after his arrival there. Modi reached Portugal on August 5, 2014, said Congress. “From 8th onwards, Modi along with wife and another first family member were holidaying at a place called Ibiza, a resort town,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said, calling the government’s “humanitarian angle” position a “facade”.
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Sharma said the government’s top leadership was involved in helping Modi and asked “who decided not to appeal” in his passport case.
He added that Swaraj kept the then foreign secretary and senior MEA officials in the dark when she helped Lalit Modi secure travel documents. “If you look at the chain of events, it becomes clear that from day one not only the External Affairs Minister, but at the highest level this government was keen to help Modi to get his passport… Friends of Modi are protecting him and helping him and the big Modi, PM Narendra Modi, must answer.” He said Lalit Modi had declared bankruptcy in 2012… and was travelling in a private jet and staying in an exotic resort.
“Why is the PM silent. Should we then believe that there is a larger nexus of those who were managing or mismanaging the affairs of the Indian cricket which led to corruption, sleaze, match-fixing and money laundering? After all, Lalit Modi is a friend, he is personally known to the highest leader in the BJP — former president of Gujarat Cricket Association and now PM — president of BJP and president of Gujarat cricket association,” said Sharma.
Stating that the decision not to appeal in Lalit Modi’s case was not by default but by design, Sharma said a considered decision was taken to not appeal against the High Court order. “It had the endorsement at the highest level of the government.”