Oppn targets Sushma's daughter

Bansuri was part of legal team helping Lalit Modi

Oppn targets Sushma's daughter

The Opposition on Monday raised questions over External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s daughter being part of a legal team that assisted former IPL chief Lalit Modi in a case challenging the UPA government’s decision to revoke his passport.

Sushma’s daughter Bansuri was working with senior advocate U U Lalit, who was appointed judge of the Supreme Court after Narendra Modi became prime minister last May, on the case in the Delhi High Court.

The high court, however, ruled in Lalit Modi’s favour asking the government to return his passport. Bansuri is now practising as an independent lawyer.

“Is it not a fact that there is a clear-cut case of conflict of interest made out vis-a-vis External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj? Is it not a fact that her daughter Bansuri was appearing in passport cancellation matters of Lalit Modi both before the single judge bench and division bench of the high court as is apparent from the two judgments dated 16.1.2013 and 27.8.2014?” said Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

“Is it not a fact that on grant of travel documents by the UK, Lalit Modi thanked the minister’s husband and daughter?” he added.

The British government on Monday maintained that it had issued travel documents to Lalit Modi in accordance with the law.

London-based newspapers had also revealed that Labour MP Keith Vaz had offered to help Sushma’s nephew, Jyotirmay Kaushal, get admission into a British law degree course.
She, however, clarified last evening that “regarding Jyotirmay’s admission into a law course at Sussex University, he secured admission through the normal process in 2013, a year before I became a minister.”

Though the Congress attacked Narendra Modi and Sushma with more vigour on Monday, NDA ally the Shiv Sena and several BJP leaders came out in support of the senior Union minister.

The Sena, which had earlier pitched for Sushma as their choice of prime minister in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, felt that the whole controversy was to turn a “non-issue into an issue”.

Sena leader Sanjay Raut met Sushma to express his party’s solidarity.

 “The way the External Affairs Ministry has performed under Sushma, it has become a strong pillar of the Modi government. So she is being targeted to weaken the government and destabilise it,” he said.

Raut also said that he was not aware of what is happening inside “that” party when his comment was sought on insinuations made by BJP leaders Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha.

The BJP leaders had hinted at an insiders job for flaring up the whole controversy.
Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said: “The external affairs minister is doing a wonderful job. Nothing illegal, nothing immoral has been done. Let us not try to politicise issues which are done on humanitarian grounds.”

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the UPA government allowed the former IPL chief, who was facing a Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate probe, to escape from the country.

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