The Congress Monday accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “influencing” the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into alleged FEMA violations by Lalit Modi by terming the Rs 11 crore transaction between the former IPL chief and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s son Dushyant Singh as a “commercial transaction.” Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was a “clear cut” and “blatant cover-up” attempt to save Raje and her son.
The party also stepped up its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his “continued silence” on the Lalit Modi affair is prompting it to conclude that he was “party to” helping the former IPL chief. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is also under Opposition attack for helping Modi secure travel documents in the UK, while Raje is facing allegations of secretly supporting Modi’s bid to obtain UK immigration papers in 2011.
“The Prime Minister’s silence gives an impression that everything was done under his watch… the Prime Minister and Lalit Modi have a close relationship…Both have held posts in the cricket administration,” Azad told reporters. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh asked the Prime Minister to come out of the “nidrasan” and tell the nation his “Mann Ki Baat.”
Azad hit out at Jaitley for his statement in Washington on Sunday.
He said the Finance Minister’s statement will “influence” the ED, which is investigating FEMA violations by Lalit Modi. “If the Finance Minister terms the transaction legal, then I doubt how will the ED continue its probe,” he said.
Azad claimed that the Finance Ministry and ED had given an undertaking in Delhi High Court earlier this year that the investigation will be taken to its logical conclusion and in accordance with the law. “And on the other hand the Finance Minister is giving a clean chit to Raje’s son,” he said.
He said Jaitley’s statement was like telling the ED to “close the case.” Asked whether Congress would demand Jaitley’s resignation, he said the Congress was waiting for the response from the PM.
“We will reveal our strategy after hearing what the Prime Minister says,” Azad said, adding the earlier the PM speaks it would be better for him as the issue is snowballing and could lead to the resignation of several people as “half of the Union Council of Ministers” have already come under a cloud of suspicion”.