Lalit Modi invoked names of UK royal family members while seeking travel papers: Report
Controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi invoked the names of members of Britain’s royal family, including Prince Charles and his brother Andrew, while seeking British travel papers, according to a media report on Sunday.india Updated: Jun 21, 2015 20:22 IST
Controversial former IPL chief Lalit Modi developed close links with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and had also met Prince Charles before he was given travel documents, according to a media report on Sunday.
The third expose by The Sunday Times over the last three weeks claimed on the basis of ‘leaked emails’ that Modi sought the help of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York to secure the travel papers, a claim denied by Buckingham Palace.
The paper had previously revealed the role of India’s external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, in Modi securing the travel papers, setting off a political storm and demands for her resignation.
The reports had also disclosed the key role played by Keith Vaz, who, as chair of the home affairs committee, had intervened on Modi’s behalf in communication to top officials of the home office, including Sarah Rapson, director-general of UK visa & immigration.Vaz, a well-known MP of Indian origin, has denied any wrongdoing.
“This newspaper has now discovered that Andrew has known Modi for several years and met the tycoon at his London home last July — just days before Modi’s travel papers were granted”, the report said.
It added that on July 2 last year, Vaz raised Modi’s case with a home office official: “Mr Modi informs me that he met the Prince of Wales . . . and he also met Prince Andrew two days ago. Both offered to help resolve this matter as he was complaining about missing the wedding of his sister and the inability to meet among others the president of the Seychelles.”
After the travel papers were issued, Rapson reportedly wrote to Vaz on 1 August to alert him to the “good news”. She also replied directly to a thank-you note from Modi. Vaz later ‘flippantly’ told the tycoon: “She replied because she knows you are sleeping with Prince Andrew.”
The report said: “Although the comment was a joke, it suggests a degree of familiarity between the duke and Modi”.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said: “While we would never comment on the private meetings or conversations of members of the royal family, I can confirm that the Duke of York has known Mr Modi over a number of years.
“The duke is fully aware that policy and decisions relating to immigration issues are a matter for the home office. It is categorically untrue that he has sought to influence decisions on these issues.”
The spokesperson said Andrew had not accepted any hospitality or gifts from Modi and that “the duke was not aware of the detail of allegations” against the tycoon.
Modi moved to London in 2010 after the IPL became embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting. He denies any wrongdoing and says he came to Britain because he faced death threats from criminals in India.
The report added that Vaz sought help from Modi’s family to prepare for a trip to India in February last year by former Labour leader, Ed Miliband, who later cancelled the visit due to floods in Britain.
According to the ‘leaked correspondence’, Vaz invited Modi’s father, Krishan Modi, to a VIP dinner with Miliband, adding: “I would really appreciate your help in ensuring the best of Delhi comes and meets the man who could be the next British prime minister.”