Under fire from the Congress in the “Lalitgate” issue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday mounted an emotional defence, claiming that she only helped a woman suffering from a “life threatening” ailment and that she extended no favours to former IPL chairman Lalit Modi.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha amid boycott by several opposition parties, Sushma said if helping a woman cancer patient was a crime, “then I admit having committed this crime”.
The Congress has launched a sustained campaign against Sushma for facilitating the travel documents for Lalit, who was being probed for several economic offences and has been staying in Britain since 2010, to visit his ailing wife undergoing treatment in Portugal.
“Lalit Modi’s wife faces no criminal case. Why should she be deprived of the support of her husband while being treated for cancer? I want to ask Sonia Gandhi, what would you have done in my place? Would she have left the woman die,” Swaraj asked gesturing at the mostly empty Opposition benches. She rejected allegations levelled by the Congress that she had recommended to the British government the issue of travel documents to Lalit Modi. “I urged them to follow their own rules and regulations. I did not seek to influence their decisions,” Swaraj said.
“Did I help Lalit Modi escape from India? No. Did I ask the British government to give him travel documents? No,” Swaraj said, challenging the Opposition to show a document, letter or email suggesting that she had recommended Lalit Modi’s case to the British government.
She made it clear that she wanted to respond to the “disinformation” campaign launched against her and was waiting for long for an opportunity. “But I was unable to do so because of the ruckus created by the Opposition in Parliament,” she said.
Quoting “Ram Charit Manas”, Sushma said perhaps the stars were not aligned in her favour now, as those who have showered their affection on her were demanding her resignation.
Last week, Swaraj had made a statement on the same issue in the Rajya Sabha, but it was drowned in the demands for her resignation from the agitating opposition members.
DH News Service