Lalit Modi case: Chidambaram to continue with questioning



By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Congress on Thursday rejected the arguments given by the government during a debate on the Lalit Modi issue in the Lok Sabha and said it would continue to raise its voice and ask questions on the matter.

“The monsoon session of parliament has come to an end. It began with BJP’s acrimony and ended with more acrimony on their part. Is anyone wiser at the end of the session on Modigate issue that was the cause of so much debate,” senior Congress leader and former finance minister P. Chidambaram asked at a press conference here.

He said while putting forward the government’s views on the Lalit Modi issue on Wednesday, both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj failed to answer the questions posed by the Congress.

“Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley made last ditch efforts. They did everything except answer the crucial questions that arose out of Sushma Swaraj’s intervention on behalf of Lalit Modi,” he said.

“Why did she think Lalit Modi needed a British travel document and not an Indian travel document? Why did she keep her ministry in the dark,” he asked.

Chidambaram asked why the government was refusing to release the letters between the finance ministers of the two countries. “Why are Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj selectively quoting a few words from the letters instead of releasing the full texts of the letters?”

The Congress leader said some facts that tumbled out were that the external affairs minister intervened with the British High Commissioner on behalf of Lalit Modi at a time when his passport had been cancelled and the case was pending in the high court and that her ministry has so far not appealed against the high court order setting aside the cancellation of the passport.

The former finance minister said: “I am afraid that the two ministers have failed the government and the people. Instead of a debate, we got a diatribe. Instead of answers, we got sermons. Instead of facts, we got a fudge.”

“If the ministers think these questions will go away, I am afraid they will not,” he said.

The monsoon session of parliament saw repeated disruptions and ruckus as the opposition, led by the Congress, created uproar over the alleged help to Lalit Modi by Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the Vyapam recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.

Chidambaram also demanded an “unqualified apology” from Sushma Swaraj over her references to the Bofors case and the Gandhi’s family’s role in it.

“We take strong exception to the blatantly false references made by her to the late Bofors case  and alleged payments to him by Quattrocci,” he said.

Chidambaram quoted from judgments that said the charges against Rajiv Gandhi had been quashed.

On the Congress’ stand on a special session for the passage of Goods and Services Tax Bill, he said it was his party which scripted the bill.

“We have three fundamental objections; if those are addressed the other differences can be resolved,” he said.