In what can spell more trouble for Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, media reports on Wednesday suggested that she had recommended former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s name for Padma award in 2007.
Reports claimed that Raje had recommended Lalit Modi’s name for the Padma award on July 28, 2007.
While proposing the former IPL chief’s name for the prestigious award, the Rajasthan government had highlighted Modi’s contributions to business and development of cricket in the state.
The reports, if found true, will add up to Raje’s woes, as she is already facing calls to resign over her alleged proximity with the fugitive former IPL boss Lalit Modi, who is facing a number of investigations related to financial irregularities and wanted in the country.
Raje is accused of having testified in favour of Lalit Modi`s British immigration application in 2011. After this revelation, Raje clarified her position to BJP president Amit Shah over phone, saying she was not aware of the documents released. However, she had accepted her family relations with Modi.
As per the documents released by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh recently, Raje – in the witness statement submitted in the UK court in 2011 – had backed the immigration plea of Lalit Modi contending she had no doubt that the frontal attack he was facing in India then was “politically motivated”.
“Given my close understanding of, and involvement in Indian politics, I have absolutely no doubt that the broad, full frontal attack that Lalit is currently facing in India is politically motivated,” she had said in her witness statement before the British authorities.
She insisted that the Congress party was “destroying” and “discrediting” Modi.
“In the course of doing so by virtue of my association with him, they hope to politically discredit me as well,” she said in the witness statement given on August 18, 2011.
The Rajasthan Chief Minister said the information contained in the statement was “true, correct and accurate” to the best of her knowledge and belief.
The statement had a ‘confidentiality notice’, insisting that it is provided on the “strict understanding that its contents and the identity of its maker are treated confidentially and that it is used only for the purposes stated in it”.
“I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes, but do on a strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authorities,” Raje, who gave this undertaking as the then Opposition Leader of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, said.
In the statement, Raje said she was also aware that Modi, in the context of his role as IPL founder and chairman, had major run-ins with prominent Central government ministers.