Cong refuses to buy Sushma's 'humanitarian' argument

The Congress posed seven questions to pick holes in Union Minister Sushma Swaraj’s core defence that she helped former IPL chief Lalit Modi on humanitarian grounds.

The party wanted to know why External Affairs Minister Swaraj chose to ignore legal and diplomatic route and instead assisted Lalit Modi in “hush-hush” manner by putting in a word to British authorities to provide him travel documents under their rules. Initiating a debate on the adjournment motion on action taken against Lalit Modi, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also sought presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reply to their posers.

Kharge in his speech demanded Swaraj’s resignation, emphasising that “the admission of guilt itself is a proof. We need not prove it”. 

The five-hour long debate had an interesting start with language of adjournment motion moved by Kharge was edited by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to expunge word “Lalitgate” owing to House conduct rules. That lead to a huge ruckus from the opposition benches with Speaker also wondering whether expression “fugitive” can be used as per parliamentary lexicon to describe Lalit’s stay in London since the Fema case was registered against him in 2010.

Mahajan was apprised by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that he is a fugitive since a non-bailable warrant has been issued against him. Subsequently amended “Reported involvement and admission of a Union Minister in assisting a fugitive and stand taken by Government”motion was adopted for debate.

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