Cong says Raje 'secretly' backed Lalit Modi, CM cancels UK trip

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2015 03:21 IST

Seeking her immediate resignation, Congress on Wednesday released a signed version of Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje's secret affidavit supporting controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi's immigration bid in UK.

"The curtains are off, the secret is out. The document signed by Vasundhara Raje supporting his immigration case before the British government is out. When the issue came out first, she feigned ignorance and then said she does not remember," senior party leader Jairam Ramesh told reporters at the AICC briefing.

Ramesh alleged that she had been lying all along and that the prime minister has no choice but to sack her.

In the document dated August 18, 2011, Raje said : "I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes, but do so on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authorities."

The statement sought to establish that the legal trouble the cricket czar faced in India was because of a political witch hunt by the Congress.

"I have absolutely no doubt that the broad, full frontal attack that Lalit is currently facing in India is politically motivated. Certain elements within Indian politics seek to preserve their own interests by exacting revenge on political opponents," it said.

Ramesh said she has broken four laws -- Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act, PMLA and the Passport Act.

"BJP has always maintained that if papers are produced with her signature, then she is culpable. There is no need of anymore evidence, Vasundhara Raje stands thoroughly exposed," the senior Congress leader said.

Modi, who has been living in the UK over the last few years, faces several cases of money laundering and forex violations connected to the Indian Premier League.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh has already ruled out the resignation of Raje and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj over the controversy involving Lalit Modi.

Television channels reported quoting sources that the BJP has asked Raje to explain the signed affidavit, though this was denied by the party's state leadership.

"BJP central leadership, BJP legislaure party are with Raje. The party leadership has not sought any explanation because it is a not an issue. As far as the documents which are being shown in the media today are concerned, we cannot say anything on that because contents for which the signatures have been made are not clear ," state unit president Ashok Parnami told reporters.

Protests in Jaipur

In Jaipur, Congress party workers hit the streets pressing for Raje's resignation.

Hundreds of Congress workers gathered in Udyog Maidan near Statute Circle and senior party leaders joined them in the march to the Civil Lines area where the chief minister's official residence is located.

Among the Congress leaders who participated were Rajasthan state party chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot

"What the chief minister, when she was leader of opposition, did was a criminal act as she helped Lalit Modi, a fugitive, to procure travel documents. She is criminally culpable," Pilot said.

The Congress leader threatened to continue protests across the state until Raje resigns and an impartial probe is ordered.

Raje cancels trip to UK

With the controversy over her support to Lalit Modi escalating, Vasundhara Raje cancelled her scheduled visit to London.

Raje was scheduled to visit London from June 27 to July 2 for an interaction with business tycoons ahead of the Rajasthan Resurgent Meet at Jaipur in November.

A spokesperson from the chief minister's office said the trip was cancelled because of an upcoming Niti Aayog meeting.

Raje will be in Delhi on June 28 to attend Niti Aayog's sub-committee meeting.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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