Opposition parties on Sunday demanded external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation after she acknowledged she had helped controversial IPL chief
in his efforts to procure British travel documents on “humanitarian grounds”.
Swaraj made the clarification in a series of tweets after a recent expose by a British newspaper that Keith Vaz, the well-known British MP of Indian origin, used the external affairs minister’s name to pressure Britain’s top immigration official to grant travel papers to Modi.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh said Swaraj should resign on “moral grounds” after she admitted she had helped Modi in his efforts to obtain the travel documents despite a “red alert” issued by the Indian government.
“I respect Sushma Swaraj and I did not expect this from her. This whole situation is very serious, where the government is helping someone who has been proved guilty. The government should come clear on this issue,” Singh told ANI.
“I appeal to her to resign on moral grounds,” he said.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Ashutosh said, “How can a foreign minister of a country help a legal offender, even if it’s on compassionate grounds?
“It’s high time Prime Minister (Narendar) Modi realises that Sushmaji cannot continue in this ministry nor any other minister with serious charges against them.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded a thorough investigation into Swaraj’s involvement in helping Modi.
The Left parties too criticised Swaraj for helping Modi.
“This is unwarranted and unethical,” said CPI-M leader Brinda Karat.
D Raja of the CPI questioned what might have prompted Swaraj to help Modi. “What forced Sushma Swaraj to go out of the way to help an economic offender? She must explain,” he told reporters.
Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said, “It is very unfortunate that a foreign minister of the country is helping an ED offender. Lalit Modi is close to a number of BJP leaders, including the chief minister of Rajasthan.
“The external affairs minister helping him to go out of the country to hoodwink the administration, and (Prime Minister) Modi is silent on the matter.”
Hours after Swaraj’s tweets defending her move to help Modi on humanitarian grounds, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cancelled a scheduled news briefing at the party headquarters in Delhi at 1pm.