Making her first statement on the Lalit Modi row in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said that she had made repeated attempts in both Houses to resolve the deadlock over the former IPL commissioner’s travel documents in the United Kingdom.
The Opposition, led by the Congress, has been adamant on Sushma Swaraj’s resignation along with that of Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi row. Swaraj made the statement on Thursday in the Lok Sabha without any hectoring or sloganeering since the Opposition is boycotting the proceedings over the resignations.
Sushma Swaraj said, “I have never recommended or requested British government to favour Lalit Modi for travel documents. Words in such communication are important.”
Making an emotional appeal before the House, she said, “I have never helped Lalit Modi but his wife, who is an Indian citizen, wanted her husband by her side.” Underlining the emotional aspect of her statement, the external affairs minister added, “If helping a woman cancer patient is a crime, then I admit having committed this crime and am ready to face any punishment from this House for it.”
“I did not request the British government for any travel documents for Lalit Modi. The allegations levelled against me are baseless,” Sushma told the Lok Sabha. “If it had been (Congress president) Sonia Gandhi in my place, what she would have done,” she asked.
The opposition had earlier objected to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s statement in Rajya Sabha, saying it was made without notice and hence illegal, and urged Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari not to take it on record.
In her statement during the Zero Hour, Sushma had made the statement saying she had not made any request to the British government for the issue of travel documents to controversial former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi and asserted that all allegations against her were “baseless and unfounded”.
She has been facing vociferous demands from the Congress for her resignation over her alleged help to Modi who is facing Enforcement Directorate investigations. She said her help was extended to Modi’s wife who was battling cancer for 17 years and was undergoing treatment in Portugal.