BJP firms up defence, says Raje did no wrong

Party claims Lalit Modi was not declared fugitive

BJP firms up defence, says Raje did no wrong

The BJP on Friday argued that beleaguered Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s confidential statement backing Lalit Modi’s immigration plea was not a legal document as she did not testify before a UK court.  

The party decided to come up with a more structured response to the charges levelled against Raje after a team of lawyers was put together here to prepare her defence. 

Raje has been avoiding the media ever since the controversy broke out.   In Jaipur, the BJP’s Rajasthan unit chief Ashok Parnami said that former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was not declared a fugitive and hence the Opposition’s criticism was “misplaced.”

Modi was never declared an absconder but a “Light Blue” notice was issued by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence at the behest of the Enforcement Directorate after he left the country in 2010, said Parnami.

“By levelling such allegations, the Congress is indulging in political vendetta against her and is targeting the decades-old family relations between her and Lalit Modi,” Parnami added.

A senior BJP leader said that Raje has put her side of the story before the party central leadership. 

She contended that after Modi swayed her to sign the deposition, she had an after thought which was visible in her subsequent decision not to testify before a London court, the leader added. 

The BJP has emphasised that she supported Modi because he was politically hounded by the state Congress regime for his proximity to Raje.

The party also did not find any “wrongdoing” in Raje’s plea invoking a UK rule that gave her liberty to hold back her statement from Indian authorities. A BJP leader elaborated that the witness protection laws allow a person to conceal his/her identity.

In Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah to discuss the legal implications and the political fallout of the controversy. Shah later called on the prime minister in the evening to discuss the issue.

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