NEW DELHI:The Lalit Modi saga refuses to die down. While the Centre and the BJP may have strongly backed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje against any wrongdoing in “helping” the IPL czar, the discordant voices from the party have exposed the fissures within.
In a fresh note of dissent after BJP MP Kirti Azad’s “asteen ka saanp” (internal saboteur) jibe at ‘Lalitgate’, it was the turn of another party MP and former Home Secretary R K Singh to make a statement, but apparently with a different target.
“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 said on Tuesday.
Singh added that the government must appeal to get Lalit’s Indian passport revoked. He termed “incorrect” Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria’s meeting with Lalit.
Singh’s statement assumes significance as the government and the party have strongly defended both Sushma and Raje.
Meanwhile, Lalit took to social media with a vengeance to “expose” purported benefits derived by various leaders from the cricketing bodies. His disclosures have a potential embarrassment to many.
The BJP had insisted that there was nothing wrong in Raje and Sushma’s actions saying allegations against them by the Opposition won’t stand legal and technical scrutiny. But even BJP sources agreed that the allegations levelled against the senior leaders may give rise to the perception of wrongdoing in the whole affair.
Interestingly, Kirti Azad has continued his attacks and there has not been any overt directive asking him to exercise restraint. Now, Singh’s statement has also added to the muddied waters. Both Singh and Kirti Azad are from Bihar, where the BJP faces a tough challenge from the ruling dispensation in the upcoming state elections.
As the Maharashtra government has sought an explanation from Maria on his meeting with Lalit last year, the Opposition has been questioning the NDA Government why it was not following the same yardstick for the ministers.
As Lalit is at the centre of the entire drama being played out and pressure is growing on the government to take strict action against him, the former IPL czar had gone on the offensive.
In a series of tweets, Lalit has declared a war. He has even made public the show cause notices issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax along with his detailed replies.
As the matter is still finding traction in the media owing to new documents surfacing, Lalit appears to be only escalating the offensive.