NEW DELHI: The Lalit Modi saga continues unabated. The former IPL chief dragged BJP MP Varun Gandhi into a fresh row alleging that latter had met him in London a few years ago to negotiate a deal between him and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, a charge strongly denied by both Varun and the Congress.
Meanwhile, in a fresh salvo at the government, hinting quid pro quo charge at external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, the Congress alleged that Lalit Modi had offered her husband to become alternate director – a non salaried position - in his company, and sought her resignation. Sushma’ husband Swaraj Kaushal agreed that offer was made to him but added he had declined it. Kaushal has been representing Lalit Modi as a lawyer for the last 20 years.
Currently, in London, Lalit Modi has been stirring the politics back home with his serial tweets on people he claims to have met in the recent past. In a series of tweets, Modi also questioned as to why enforcement directorate was not moving against other people apart from him.
A controversy was generated as he named Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi alleging that he had come to his house a few years ago with an offer to settle matters with Sonia Gandhi.
“Mr @varungandhi80 came to see me at my house a few years ago and said he can settle everything in @INCIndia with his aunt. He wanted me to meet her sister from Italy. I heard him next I heard from our common friend who introduced us that that Auntie wants 60 million dollars,” Lalit Modi alleged in multiple tweets.
Modi then went on to reveal the identity of the aunt as Sonia Gandhi and her sister. He even claimed that a famous astrologer was also present during the meeting between him and Varun.
Varun Gandhi reacted sharply saying the allegations were “baseless.” “How can I respond seriously to something so blatantly untrue. It is beneath my dignity to dwell deeper into this ridiculousness.”
As Varun denied, Lalit Modi levelled fresh allegations quoting former union minister Natwar Singh’s son Jagat Singh, who is currently a BJP MLA from Rajasthan. While heaping praise on Jagat, Modi quoted from twitter handle purported to be that of Jagat. “Did not introduce Varun Gandhi to Lalit Modi. Facilitated meeting through a common friend; world renowned astrologer. Was in India at time...Meeting was at behest of Varun Gandhi. Got a call from LM (Lalit Modi) a week later. Most upset. Shocked at what he had to say,” said Jagat’s tweets.
The BJP also came to Varun's defence, saying he is in a different party than Sonia Gandhi. BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Varun Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are in different parties and the world knows about the ties between the two families. They are separate party wise and ideology wise too We won't believe Lalit Modi's tweets.”
While, taking Varun Gandhi’s side, the BJP questioned the Congress to reply charges levelled against Sonia Gandhi by Lalit Modi. Hussain added, "While Varun Gandhi has put across his point of view, Sonia Gandhi should answer on the allegations made by Lalit Modi...Congress asks too many questions, it is time now for them to reply."
Meanwhile, Swaraj again saw her name being dragged in relation to Lalit Modi. Congress alleged that Swaraj Kaushal was offered the position of director to alternate for Lalit Modi on the board of Indofil Industries, months before Sushma had written a letter to UK authorities supporting former IPL chief’s travel.
“I was offered to be Alternate Director on Indofil Board. I did not give my consent. The request was withdrawn,” Swaraj Kaushal said.
Meanwhile, CMD of Indofil, and Lalit’s father, K K Modi, said the proposal was withdrawn before it could be brought before the the board. "Lalit Modi withdrew, so the board never considered that request. That’s the current situation, KK Modi said.
"Lalit didn't give him (Swaraj Kaushal) power but a proposal that Kaushal be appointed as alternate director of company," Modi said, adding "(when) he's not on the board so where is the conflict of interest..No director can be appointed without following the rules and regulations which are laid out by law," Modi said.
Demanding Sushma’s resignation, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Sushma Swaraj must tell the people of the country how many times she has met Lalit Modi or if any of her family members had been in touch with the fugitive."
BJP rejected the demands saying the matter has been clarified. "Very routinely people are requested to be directors, lawyers, advocates. The Congress Party has run out of ideas and is desperately clutching at straws," BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.