Govt should ensure Lalit returns to face probe: PC
Rejecting allegations of vendetta levelled against him and the UPA, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday demanded that the government should ensure that Lalit Modi returns to India to face the probe by Enforcement Directorate on various charges, including money laundering.
Addressing a press conference, he said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s action in helping the tainted former IPL boss get travel documents from the UK was in violation of rules and a case of favouritism shown to someone she knew.
He also demanded as to who decided not to appeal against the Delhi High Court decision to restore the passport of Modi last year as normally a reversing decision is always challenged in a higher court.
The Congress leader wanted the government to release the letters exchanged between him as Finance Minister and the Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne in which he had urged for sending Modi back to India since he was facing criminal charges here.
He said after the reply to his first letter, he had written a second letter couched in stronger words to Osborne that Modi was facing investigations in India, his passport has been revoked, he had no right to live in the UK and he should be sent back to India.
Chidambaram raised the question if Swaraj wanted to help Modi as a humanitarian gesture as was being claimed why did she not write to the Indian High Commission and ask for the issue of Indian travel documents to him instead of recommending issue of UK travel documents.
Chidambaram demanded disclosure of file notings in the MEA about who decided not to appeal against the High Court order. “Someone had taken the decision and I would like to know who took it.”
“When a division bench of the high court sets aside cancellation of Lalit Modi’s passport, who took the decision not to file an appeal in the Supreme Court. Was ED at whose instance the passport was cancelled consulted in the matter. Furthermore, who took the decision to issue a fresh passport to Lalit Modi. Will the government make public file notings,” he said.
The former minister said Modi was an Indian passport holder and his stay in London without <g data-gr-id="31">visa</g> was in violation of all rules and that was one of the grounds on which his return was demanded.
“Why did Swaraj help him get a <g data-gr-id="33">long term</g> visa or a <g data-gr-id="34">residency</g> of Britain when he was facing serious criminal charges in India,” Chidambaram said.
ED steps up probe in Lalit Modi owned firm for FEMA violation
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has stepped up its probe into a foreign exchange violation case against former IPL boss Lalit Modi which involves alleged illegal routing of Rs 21 crore funds from a Mauritius-based company. Official sources said the case pertains to the routing of the amount a few years ago into a firm said to be owned by Modi which is based in Rajasthan and has a branch office in the national capital. The ED had begun investigations into this case in October last year after it detected some foreign investment coming into this group which had Modi's relatives at the helm.