New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The Lalit Modi controversy on Friday appeared to taint the Congress, with the former IPL chief claiming that he had “bumped” into party president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka and her husband Robert Vadra in a London restaurant last year, a charge denied by Priyanka Vandra’s office.
Modi did not imply any wrongdoing on their part, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), smarting from several damaging revelations by the former IPL chief, immediately sprang into an attacking mode.
“The Congress must explain. Why is Mrs Gandhi silent,” asked BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
Priyanka Gandhi’s office said “there was no meeting”.
Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Priyanka Gandhi and Vadra had “committed no crime”. There was no “social interaction” of any nature between them. “Looking at each other in a restaurant is neither a crime nor morally improper.”
The BJP has been facing fire over Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s reported connections with Lalit Modi. She is alleged to have signed documents supporting Lalit Modi’s application for residency in Britain even though he was said to be a fugitive from India.
Lalit Modi tweeted earlier in the day: “Happy to meet the Gandhi family in London. I had run into Robert and Priyanka separately in a restaurant.”
“If I remember correctly, it was last year and the year before. Doubt whether reported it to anyone. They were in power then,” he said.
Modi is embroiled in a row over alleged financial irregularities when he was the IPL chief. The Enforcement Directorate has built up a case against him. The government had also cancelled his passport.
Modi also tweeted that the Gandhi couple was with Timmy Sarna who is with DLF Brands Ltd. “They can call me. Will tell them what I feel about them exactly,” he said in the tweet.
The BJP asked Sonia Gandhi to explain why Priyanka and Vadra met Modi, as claimed by him, since her Congress party was demanding the resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over her help to Modi.
Surjewala, though, said that Lalit Modi was trying to come to BJP’s rescue by creating “red herrings and diversionary tactics”.
He asked the government to release records of discussions the former finance minister P. Chidambaram had with the British government demanding that Lalit Modi be handed over to India.