Congress slams Sushma’s ‘hogwash defence’, says she ‘intervened’ to help Lalit Modi

New Delhi, Aug 6 : The Congress Party on Thursday took a dig at External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, saying that her tear-jerker was an “apology of a defence and hogwash” as former IPL boss Lalit Modi was given travel papers only after her intervention.

“The fundamental question is if there was a bona fide request and the External Affairs Minister was fully convinced, then this legitimate petition could have been submitted to the High Commissioner of India in the United Kingdom in London, processed by the foreign office, the passport and visa division and the legal entry division and Indian travel documents could have been given since he was an Indian citizen, continues to be an Indian citizen,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media here.

“Why intervene voluntarily when the British Government and their authorities have not asked the Government of India for its opinion, for its response? Then to say that I made no recommendation, this is ridiculous,” he added.

Calling the apology “hogwash and punctured with holes,” Sharma said: “It is very difficult for us to accept. The statement contradicts what she has been saying from June 14 onwards. Lalit Modi was wanted by law. It is confirmed by this Government’s Finance Minister and the previous government’s finance minister.”

“Shri Arun Jaitley and his Minister of State have twice informed the Parliament that there are 14 cases for which ED’s summons and notice have been issued. He has been evading law. So what do you call a person who has been evading law? Who is wanted by law agencies? Should a minister clandestinely arrange or facilitate the issuance of travel documents, the request for which was rejected earlier by the British Authorities?” he added.

Swaraj, who made an emotional statement in the Lok Sabha today, saying she had helped Lalit Modi’s cancer-stricken wife and not him.

She also insisted that she had made “no request or recommendation” to the UK Government for Lalit Modi’s travel documents but had left the decision to Britain. (ANI)