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Congress demands Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe in 'Modigate'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 16, 2015 17:13 IST
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Members of Youth Congress hold posters and shout slogans against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the row over helping scam-tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi obtain British travel papers,in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI

Hardening further its stand on 'Modigate', the Congress on Tuesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team probe into the "scandal".

Having already demanded the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and registration of a case against her for assisting scam-tainted Lalit Modi in obtaining travel documents in the United Kingdom, the party alleged since the "senior leadership" in the government was "in cahoots" with the former Indian Premier League boss, an independent inquiry was required.

"There has been nexus of the senior leadership of the government (with former IPL boss Lalit Modi) who have been in cahoots in cricket management or mismanagement. An independent inquiry by a Supreme Court-monitored SIT is necessary," party spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters. He insisted a thorough investigation in the affair is needed as the issue is "not restricted" to just to travel documents.

Alleging "Lalit Modi is personally known to the highest in the BJP", he recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also associated with the Gujarat Cricket Association when he was the state's chief minister.

"The ruling party is involved.......Those in the government cannot be trusted. It has to be done by a Supreme Court-monitored special investigation team", he said.

Targeting the prime minister for maintaining silence on the issue, Sharma said he needed to speak up as "what has happened is scandalous". He faulted Home Minister Rajnath Singh for "hailing" Swaraj's "humanitarian" act of helping Lalit Modi get travel documents from the British government, purportedly for the treatment of his cancer-stricken wife in Portugal.

"How can the home minister say that what Sushmaji has done is a good thing? The job of the home minister is to bring back to the country fugitives and wanted persons from abroad. What sort of patriotism is this?" he wondered.

The Congress leader wanted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to tell the country as to what the Enforcement Directorate and other investigating agencies have done in the cases involving Lalit Modi since the National Democratic Alliance government came to power on May 26 last year.

Sharma also faulted the government for not appealing against the Delhi high court's decision restoring passport to Lalit Modi. "We do not believe that appeal was not filed by default. (It was done) by design," he alleged.

The former Union minister said the matter was serious as even the Foreign Secretary was not aware when Swaraj asked British authorities to help Modi with travel documents. Sharma claimed the surgery carried out on Modi's wife in Portugal was "not invasive". "There was no invasive surgery. This can be verified from hospital in Portugal," he said, referring to Modi's claim that he had to visit Portugal to sign consent papers for the treatment.

"The BJP, the external affairs minister and the whole government have come out to save an accused of the Enforcement Directorate. The 'suit boot ki sarkar' is doing everything to save an economic offender," another party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said earlier.


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