New Delhi, July 23 (ANI): Former minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia on Thursday rubbished External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s tweet alleging a senior Congress leader’s involvement in procuring diplomatic passport for coal scam accused Bagrodia, saying the people of India cannot be ‘fooled’ by such tweets.
“The tweet of the Minister is absolutely wrong. There is no question of any help because I simply asked for a diplomatic passport which is my right. The people of the country cannot be fooled by these kinds of tweets. They know who are involved in illegal activities and who are not,” Bagrodia told ANI here.
Bagrodia sought for an extension of his existing diplomatic passport on grounds of his wife’s illness.
“I have been a Member of Parliament for 18 years, hence I am eleigible to get that. I had an existing passport which was valid upto February 2, 2015. I only requested Sushma through a letter. Can we please extend this passport so I can take my wife who is a cancer patient for check-up,” he said.
“I have met Sushma once, but I never sent another letter. I never met her again. I took my new passport, an ordinary passport like any other citizen and came back after my wife’s check up. A diplomatic passport only helps you at the time of immigration in a foreign country to avoid long queue. That is it,” he added.
In a series of tweets, Swaraj, who is facing opposition heat for allegedly supporting tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s bid for British travel papers, said she will reveal the name of the Congress leader in Parliament.
“A senior Congress leader was pressing me hard to give diplomatic passport to the Coal Scam accused Santosh Bagrodia…I will disclose name of the leader on the floor of the House,” she tweeted.
Later, Bagrodia hit back saying that he himself had approached Swaraj for a diplomatic passport.
In an earlier order in January, the court had observed that Bagrodia along with ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta and retired public servant L.S. Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated accused firm AMR Iron and Steel Private Limited in unlawfully obtaining the coal block. (ANI)