Priyanka, Vadra never part of the Indian Government: Congress

New Delhi, June 26 (ANI): Congress leader Digvijay Singh on Friday defended Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra in the Lalit Modi row, stating that neither had ever been a part of the government when the Congress was in power at the Centre and had met the disgraced former IPL chairman in an unofficial capacity.

The Congress general secretary further opined that the BJP was trying to fan the flames with regards to the meeting in an attempt to save face in light of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s revelations.

“If the BJP is trying to protect [Swaraj and Raje], it means that all of them are involved in this matter. Is Robert Vadra in any way part of the Indian Government? Or Priyanka Gandhi? Or did they recommend him in any way? It is so laughable that the BJP is trying to save such people who have recommended Lalit Modi on paper and using the case of Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra as their defence,” Digvijay Singh said.

“Is it a crime if Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra met Lalit Modi in a restaurant?” he added.

Singh said that the matter of contention was how External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, holding official positions in the Indian Government, had helped Lalit Modi with his travel documents.

“The matter of contention is that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj helped an absconder with travel documents: a person who is under notification by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in 15 cases for alleged involvement in a Rs1700 crore tax evasion case. Without taking into consideration the rules of business of the Indian Government, she recommended to the UK Government that he be granted with travel documents. Was it not her duty to seek permission from the Finance Ministry or ask the ED as to whether or not to recommend such a person?” he said.

“What files are there with the Foreign Affairs Ministry? She had taken an oath under the Constitution that she will work with complete impartiality, yet she acted with partiality. Whether she told the Prime Minister about it or not is also under contention. If told, the Prime Minister is answerable; if not the Prime Minister should immediately sack her,” he added.

With respect to Raje, the Congress general secretary found the charges ‘even more grave’.

“In the case of Raje, the matter is even more grave. She had furnished a statement explaining why she had recommended his travel documents calling Lalit Modi a great friend of hers, someone who had revolutionised cricket. She had even said that she would not let her statement be known to the Indian authorities. Why not?” he said.

“Such a person who has been a minister in the Central Government, who is also a Chief Minister, what is it that she wanted to hide from the Indian authorities?” he added.

In a three-part tweet, the former IPL commissioner said he was “happy to meet the Gandhi family in London” and that he had bumped into Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra at a restaurant.

But in another tweet, he revealed that the meeting was last year.

“If I remember correctly it was last year and the year before. Doubt either reported it to anyone. They were in power then,” he tweeted. (ANI)

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