Sushma makes emotional statement in LS on Lalit Modi issue

Sushma makes emotional statement in LS on Lalit Modi issue

Sushma makes emotional statement in LS on Lalit Modi issue
Under attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today made an emotional statement in the Lok Sabha, saying she had not helped Lalit Modi but her cancer-stricken wife and questioned if Sonia Gandhi would have acted differently if faced with such a situation.

She insisted that she had made "no request or recommendation" to the UK government for giving travel documents to Lalit Modi but had left the decision to Britain.

Swaraj, whose ouster is being demanded vigorously by the opposition leading to a deadlock in Parliament, made a statement with a preface in which she regretted that "her friends" in the opposition had been targeting her and not even ready to listen to her version on the issue.

She said she had been waiting all the while since the Monsoon session began on July 21 to make a statement and a discussion to clarify her position as "baseless" and "untrue" allegations were being levelled against her and "disinformation" is being carried out in the media repeatedly.

Amid thumping of benches by the ruling party members and in the absence of boycotting members of Congress and several opposition parties, she said, "I challenge those making accusations against me to produce even one document, one chit or an e-mail to back their allegations."

She said she had only told the British government that relations with that country will not be affected if they choose to provide him travel documents to visit Portugal to be with his wife who was facing "life threatening" ailment and required immediate treatment which was full of risk.

"His wife has been suffering from cancer for the last 17 years and it is the 10th time it has recurred... I want to ask what Sonia Gandhi would have done had she been in my place. Would she have left her to die," she said, reading from the reports of Portugese doctors and the statement of Modi's wife.

"If helping a woman like Modi's wife was a crime, then I admit in this House that I have committed this crime. Let Parliament give any punishment it deems fit," the External Affairs Minister.

With regard to the opposition not allowing a discussion on the issue, Swaraj said that not giving her an opportunity to respond to the charges was "injustice" to her.

"People are asking how I did it, why I did it but first tell me what did I do? Did I offer him (Lalit Modi) any pecuniary benefits? Did I help him escape from India? Did I help him get travel documents? I left it to the UK government... The message I gave to them was purely on humanitarian ground," she said.

To justify her point, Swaraj refered to a media report which had quoted the British Home Department's statement saying the decision to give travel documents to Lalit Modi was "determined in accordance with appropriate rules".

She underlined that the British Home Department had not said that the travel documents to Lalit Modi were given at the behest of Indian Foreign Minister or Indian government.
"After this, the matter should have become a non-issue but the controversy raged on," she said.

Referring to empty opposition benches, she said she was not making the statement by trying to make use of their absence but was only requesting for a debate on the issue as she had been waiting for it for so long and the Monsoon session was about to come to an end.

She hoped that a debate would begin next week when the suspension of the Congress ends.

Turning philosphical, she quoted scriptures to say that her stars may be crossed as opposition members who used to shower affection on her had been criticising her bitterly and even demanding her resignation.

"Life and death, fame and dishonour are in the hands of divnity," she said quoting a holy book and hoped that the faith of opposition members in her and their affection will return. 

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