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BJP attacks Congress on Lalit Modi issue

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New Delhi: The ruling BJP on Wednesday attacked the Congress in the Lok Sabha for the “wrong steps” taken to bring back former IPL chief Lalit Modi and rejected the opposition party’s allegations against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Source: Google images
Source: Google images

Sushma Swaraj countered the allegations concerning her family and denied that her husband Swaraj Kaushal was a lawyer for Lalit Modi in his passport case.

She said her daughter Bansuri was a “junior at ninth number in the appearance list (in the passport case)” and “not a single rupee was taken by her”.

She sought to tear into the Congress, telling Rahul Gandhi to ask his “mamma (Sonia Gandhi)” how much “money had been taken from (Ottavio) Quattrocchi” and why did “daddy (Rajiv Gandhi)” allow release of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson after the Bhopal gas leak case in 1984.

The acrimonious debate in the Lok Sabha saw Rahul Gandhi accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lacking guts to face the house over the charges against his minister.

Sparks flew in the house as the five-hour debate was marked by interruptions, sharp and sometimes personal attacks and counter-offensives.

The Congress staged a walkout as soon as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley began his reply to the debate as it wanted the prime minister to do so.

The debate in the form of an adjournment motion moved by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge took place at the fag end of the monsoon session which has been virtually washed out over the Congress demand for the resignation of Sushma Swaraj for her alleged help to Lalit Modi, who is facing an Enforcement Directorate investigation.

In his spirited reply to the debate after a strong attack by the Congress, Jaitley said steps taken by the United Progressive Alliance government to bring back Lalit Modi from abroad “could never succeed”.

He said Lalit Modi was largely being probed by the UPA under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), which had far softer provisions compared to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Jaitley said an FIR was registered against Lalit Modi under the PMLA in 2012 but the case did not take off and the the former Indian Premier League chief became liable for arrest only after concrete steps were taken by the Narendra Modi government.

“He became liable for arrest for the first time in August 2015,” Jaitley said.

The minster said Sushma Swaraj had spoken to the British government at a time when Lalit Modi was not facing a criminal case or had arrest warrants pending but only FEMA proceedings.

He accused the Congress of making a “mountain out of a molehill”.

“The government entirely rejects the allegations. The question of Sushma ji’s resignation does not arise… My entire sympathy is with Sushma ji. It (demand for her resignation) was only a pretext,” he said.

Jaitley accused the Congress of having run “a failed government, a corrupt government”.

“You want to sabotage the Indian growth story, go back on the Goods and Services Tax bill,” the finance minister said.

Jaitley also attacked Rahul Gandhi over his jibes at the prime minister and Sushma Swaraj.

“The problem with Rahul Gandhi is that he is an expert without knowledge,” Jaitley said.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi launched a strong attack on Narendra Modi.

“(Narendra) Modi had promised the nation that Rs.15 lakh black money would go into every bank account. He had also promised that he will not allow corruption. He has failed in both,” he said, adding that Lalit Modi was the symbol of black money.

“They (the treasury benches) are trying to silence me. The Congress will not keep quiet, we will keep protesting,” Rahul Gandhi said.

He asked how much money Sushma Swaraj’s family got from Lalit Modi and why did she help him in a “humanitarian” way in a hidden manner.

In her searing attack, Sushma Swaraj, who spoke amid constant sloganeering by Congress members, said she had not helped Lalit Modi but his ailing wife who was to undergo a medical procedure for cancer treatment in Portugal.

Denying any quid pro quo on the Lalit Modi issue, she said the Congress vice president should reflect on his family’s history.

“Rahul should ask, why they did the quid pro quo” about Quattrocchi and Anderson.

She claimed Rajiv Gandhi struck a deal with the US government for the release of his “childhood friend Adil Shahryar” who was awarded a 35-year jail in a prison there.

The minister said the British government conveyed that Lalit Modi was given travel documents according to appropriate rules.

She said when P. Chidambaram was the finance minister in the UPA government, his wife Nalini Chidambaram was appointed a lawyer by the income tax department.

(IANS)

Next Story

Modi’s ‘Rafale Fear’ Behind Plum Post Offer to Sikri: Rahul Gandhi

Reacting to the development, Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "When the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns."

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Rahul Gandhi (Twitter)

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with destroying key institutions to cover up the “Rafale scam” following reports of Supreme Court judge A.K. Sikri, who sided with the government to remove CBI Director Alok Verma, being nominated to the Commonwealth Tribunal.

According to sources, Justice Sikri was nominated by the Modi government to the prestigious post of President/ Member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT).

CSAT is the final adjudicator of disputes arising out of contracts entered into by or on behalf of the Commonwealth Secretariat. After reports of his nomination emerged, Justice Sikri declined his “consent” for the post.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Modi’s ‘Rafale fear’ behind plum post offer to Sikri: Rahul.

Reacting to the development, Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “When the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns.”

“This Prime Minister will stop at nothing, stoop to anything and destroy everything, to cover up the Rafale Scam. He’s driven by fear. It’s this fear that is making him corrupt and destroy key institutions,” said Gandhi tagging a media report about the post-retirement offer to the Supreme Court judge.

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Sikri was part of the Selection Committee including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge that on Thursday decided 2:1 to remove CBI chief Verma from the post. Kharge gave a dissenting note and opposed Verma’s ouster. (IANS)