Azad dodges questions on Swaraj's tweet

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday parried questions whether he was the senior Congress leader who was claimed to have "pressed hard" External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for diplomatic passport to coal scam accused and former Minister Santosh Bagrodia.

New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday parried questions whether he was the senior Congress leader who was claimed to have "pressed hard" External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for diplomatic passport to coal scam accused and former Minister Santosh Bagrodia.

"Has she said it?....Why should I say?" Azad told journalists at the AICC briefing when specifically asked whether he was the Congress leader Swaraj had referred to.

Besides, he said Bagrodia had himself clarifed that he had sought extension of his diplomatic passport, which was to expire in six months, as he had to take his wife for medical treatment to the US.

"How can you compare this with the Lalit Modi issue and the Vyapam scam? Vyapam is the biggest scam in the world.... It shows pettiness," Azad said, adding Swaraj did not act in the case of Bagrodia but went out of the way to help former IPL boss Lalit Modi who was wanted by the Enforcement Directorate.

Azad also he said Bagrodia had insisted that no case was pending against him when he approached Swaraj with the request.

Amid the continuing logjam in Parliament over Lalit Modi issue and the Vyapam scam, Swaraj had yesterday said a senior Congress leader had pressed her for giving diplomatic passpost to Bagrodia.

"A senior Congress leader was pressing me hard to give diplomatic passport to Coal Scam accused Santosh Bagrodia "I will disclose name of the leader on the floor of the House," Swaraj had tweeted.