Lalit Modi row may cast a shadow on Vaz’s bid for UK house panel

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 12:51 IST

The Keith Vaz-Lalit Modi-Sushma Swaraj revelations come at a time when elections are due on June 17 to the powerful post of chair of the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, headed by Vaz in the last parliament.

After the Conservative Party won the May 7 election, the post will go to a Labour MP. Vaz ceased to be chair of the committee when the last parliament was dissolved. Vaz, who has critics within and outside his party, is one of the two candidates for the post that examines expenditure, administration and policy of the Home Office; the other is Fiona Mactaggart, who has led or been a member of committees on human trafficking, intelligence and immigration.

As chair, Vaz had written to the Home Office on Modi’s behalf.

The Sunday Times first reported the controversy based on ‘leaked correspondence’ on June 7. Vaz, who has denied any wrongdoing, then wrote on his website: “I have recently become aware that my email address may have been hacked, and confidential emails may have been downloaded. The hacking of computers is a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990”.

The report on Sunday also brought to light the role of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, setting off demands for her resignation and her explanation she helped Modi on ‘humanitarian grounds’.

During Swaraj’s visit to London for the regional Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas from October 16-18 last year, Modi was one of the first individuals she had met.

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