New Delhi: Continuing its offensive against the BJP government at the Centre, the Congress parry on Wednesday warned that it will not relent till the ruling disposition sacks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for allegedly helping fugitive former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
Addressing a press briefing here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “We have said this earlier and want to reiterate again that Congress party will not stop, will not relent and will continue to raise these issues in the national interest until the ruling BJP disposition removes EAM Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje for their alleged involvement in the Lalit Modi issue.”
Attacking the BJP regime, the Congress leader said that the ruling BJP disposition is in deep trouble today over the propriety issue, will the Prime Minister now show guts and sack the tainted ministers on moral grounds as Congress party did in past.
“PM Modi use to say 'Na Khaayenge, na Khaane denge' during his election campaign, regrettably he has completely failed to live on that promise. Will he act against his tainted ministers as we did in past,” he added.
Surjewala further alleged that Lalit Modi had made a job offer to a family member of a BJP minister and called for an inquiry into the issue by the Prime Minister.
"Lalit Modi, the Indian fugitive, also made an offer to a family member of a minister. Why did he do so, we want the Prime Minister to inquire," the Congress spokesperson said.
"Congress party has asked the Prime Minister to make a full disclosure of facts and evidence so that 125 crore people of this country know it and the truth comes out. We have placed before the Prime Minister all the documents that are available must be placed in public domain. We should all know how Lalit Modi was being helped and why was he being helped being an Indian fugitive," he added.
Demanding that the letter written by the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram to UK on former IPL boss Lalit Modi be placed in public domain, the Congress leader alleged that the ruling BJP's strategy from the very beginning is to help the law breakers, terrorists and fugitives on humanitarian grounds.
"The Congress party makes three demands from the Prime Minister. We demand the letters written by the Congress led-UPA government and the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, as also the proceedings of the meeting held by the then Finance Minister with UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, be released by the Government of India, released by Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and be placed in public domain for everyone to see," Surjewala said during the press briefing.
"We demand that the proceedings of the meetings that took place between George Osborne and P. Chidambaram be placed in public domain. We demand that the proceedings of the meeting that took place between Sushma Swaraj on one hand and British envoy to India Sir James Bevan's proceedings, which we believe were recorded and proceedings of which are available both with the UK's Foreign Ministry as well as also with India's Foreign Ministry be forth released and be placed in public domain so as to ensure full disclosure of what was said by India's Foreign Minister to British envoy Sir James Bevan," he added.
"From Maulana Masood Azhar to Lalit Modi, from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to London, United Kingdom, from former EAM Jaswant Singh to Sushma Swaraj, BJP's strategy is same - help law breakers, terrorists and fugitives on humanitarian grounds," he added.
"On humanitarian grounds, terrorists who export terror today from the Pakistan soil like Maulana Masood Azhar were released in Afghanistan. And on humanitarian grounds, Indian fugitives like Lalit Modi are now being helped by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje," he added.
Surjewala also demanded External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to make a full disclosure of how many times she spoke to Lalit Modi and met him.
“Will EAM Sushma Swaraj also tell people how many times did she meet absconder Lalit Modi? We want the truth to come out,” Surjewala said.
The Congress spokesperson also alleged that there has been an attempt to alter the Wikipedia pages of former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his forefathers, adding that the 'sinister' act has been traced back to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) offices.
"There was an attempt to alter the Wikipedia pages of Jawaharlal Nehru and Motilal Nehru. What is worse is that the changes were done from a government IP address, specifically from the NIC, the software provider of the government. There was a sinister attempt to show that Jawaharlal Nehru was a Muslim. It doesn't matter whether he was a Muslim or a Hindu: he was an Indian. The government should conduct a full enquiry into the same," Surjewala demanded.
Will PM answer how were Wikipedia pages of former Prime Ministers and Congress leaders altered through a Govt IP? It seems that the PM is doing a 'Maun Yoga' on issues involving his senior ministers, Surjewal added.
The fresh attack from the Congress came hours after Lalit Modi claimed that BJP MP Varun Gandhi had met him in London few years ago and offered to settle all legal cases against him with the help of his aunt – Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Interestingly, Varun Gandhi later termed claims made by Lalit Modi as utterly baseless.
Though Congress has launched a major offensive against the NDA government over the Lalit Modi issue involving Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje, the government and the BJP have, however, rallied strongly behind the two leaders, ruling out any wrongdoing on their part.
While top leaders of the Congress party have produced several documents alleging wrongdoing on the part of the BJP leaders, the government has maintained that none of its ministers or leaders is tainted.
The ongoing war of words between Congress and the BJP is likely to affect the three-week long Monsoon Session of Parliament, which is scheduled to begin from July 21. It is likely to be a stormy affair with the Opposition gunning for the resignation of Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje over the Lalit Modi visa fiasco.