Lalit Modi issued travel papers as per UK law

Mired in controversy: Complaint against Labour MP Keith Vaz would not be investigated

Lalit Modi issued travel papers as per UK law

The British government on Monday maintained that it had issued travel document to scam-tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi in accordance with the laws in the United Kingdom.

Notwithstanding the brouhaha over External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recommendation for issue of travel document to Modi, the Home Office of the British Government said that its decision was in accordance with the Immigration Rules of the United Kingdom.

“We do not routinely comment on the detail of individual cases. This case was determined in accordance with the appropriate rules,” Alford Simon, Senior Press Officer of Home Office of the UK government, stated in his reply to an e-mail from Deccan Herald.

According to a PTI report from London, Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is also embroiled in the row over Swaraj’s help to Modi, would not be probed in Britain.

Kathryn Hudson, Britain’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, has decided not to investigate the complaint against Vaz that he helped Modi get travel documents to go to Portugal, purportedly for his wife’s cancer treatment.

“The Commissioner received a complaint (against Keith Vaz) last week, but has decided not to investigate into it,” a spokeswoman for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards told PTI in London.

The British government had also similarly taken a position favourable to Modi after his Indian passport had been revoked in 2011. As Modi had already been in UK before the revocation of his passport, London had conveyed to New Delhi that legal constraints had been preventing them to deport him to India.

“Legally, an individual does not require a valid passport in order to remain in the UK, so long as their leave to enter or remain in the UK remains valid. Such leave is granted to the individual and therefore does not automatically expire upon the cancellation or expiry of the passport in which it is endorsed,” the British government had stated in a communication to New Delhi in January 2014.

“An individual may apply to the Home office to change their status whilst in the UK, for example, by asking for leave to remain. Where an refused, an individual has the legal right to challenge the Home Office’s decision,” it had added.

After being accused of violating Foreign Exchange Management Act in connection with the IPL scam, Modi’s passport was revoked by the Government of India in 2011 when he was in UK.

Modi had last year sought a travel document from UK government to go to Portugal where his wife had to undergo a surgery.

The British authorities were willing to issue the travel document, but were restrained by a communication from New Delhi to London stating that any action facilitating Modi’s travel would have adverse impact on India-UK relation.

Modi’s request for Swaraj’s help just a few weeks after she took over as the External Affairs Minister of the new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014.
Swaraj, according to her own posts on Twitter on Sunday, conveyed to London’s envoy to Delhi, James Bevan, that if the British government decided to grant travel document to Modi, it would not have any adverse impact on India-UK relations.

The UK government finally issued the travel document to Modi in August 2014.

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