‘Helping a bhagoda is wrong’

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 23, 2015


Centre faces first criticism on Lalitgate by a ruling party MP

BJP MP RK Singh on Tuesday struck a discordant note over party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje extending help to former IPL boss Lalit Modi, saying “any help to a fugitive is legally and morally wrong”.

He urged the Centre to take all measures to bring him back to India to face the law.

Singh’s strong comments are the first public criticism by a ruling party MP against the help extended to Lalit Modi by External Affairs Minister Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Raje, an issue which has snowballed into a major political storm for the Narendra Modi government even though the BJP has defended both the leaders.

“If anybody helps a bhagoda (fugitive), it is wrong. This is wrong legally as well as morally. If anybody meets a fugitive, it is absolutely wrong. Whosoever has helped him, I think it is completely wrong,” Singh, a former Home Secretary, told reporters here.

He said Lalit Modi had been evading judicial warrants and summons and he was clearly a fugitive and any help given to him or any meeting with him is wrong. Asked if Lalit Modi is being “saved”, Singh said the departments concerned should be doing their job.

“I have given my view,” he said when asked about the BJP’s defence of both the leaders and added that he would not like to name individuals.

Singh said the government should appeal against the Delhi High Court order which restored the former IPL commissioner’s passport and demanded that his property should be attached, if needed. “All measures should be taken to bring him back to India so that he faces the law,” he said.

Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak for helping Lalit Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.

He had travelled to London in 2010 after the IPL became embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting.

Political capital

Meanwhile, stepping up its attack on the BJP leadership over the Lalit Modi controversy, the Congress said today Prime Minister Modi is losing political capital by trying to protect Swaraj and Raje through his continued silence on the “indefensible issue”.

The party alleged that Union ministers were also giving clean chits to both the leaders without any investigation and probe, thus “exposing” the double standards of the BJP.

PCC president Sachin Pilot, while demanding the resignation of Swaraj and Raje, said the allegations against them were levelled by Lalit Modi himself and not the Congress.

“We as the Congress party demand their resignations on legal, ethical and moral grounds,” Pilot said at a press conference here.

“Ministers in Government of India are neither heads of investigation agencies nor judges in the court of law and it is very surprising that they, before investigation is conducted or finished by Enforcement Directorate, are giving clean chits to people against whom there are serious allegations,” he said.

Published on June 23, 2015
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