New Delhi: Sushma Swaraj has responded to claims that she helped expedite ex-BCCI vice president and IPL bigwig Lalit Modi's visa appeal by writing to Labour MP Keith Vaz.
Keith Vaz, one of Britain's longest- serving Indian-origin MPs, could face an inquiry by the UK's parliamentary watchdog over allegations of a conflict of interest by intervening in the immigration application of controversial IPL founder Lalit Modi.
According to a 'Sunday Times' probe, Vaz personally wrote to Sarah Rapson, the director-general of UK visas and immigration, in an effort to expedite the case of London-based Modi, former commissioner of Indian Premier League cricket tournament.
Vaz was then chairman of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in which role he was required to scrutinise and hold to account the work of Rapson and her department, the newspaper points out.
Following the reports, the Congress, TMC, Left, JDU and other opposition parties called for her resignation. Modi has been in trouble with the Enforcement Directorate and first left India for London in in 2010 amid claims that the IPL cricket tournament was embroiled in match-fixing and illegal betting.
Sushma Swaraj responded to reports on twitter on Sunday morning. In a series of tweets, the external affairs minister tried to clarify her position, amid calls for her resignation from the opposition.
"Sometime in July 2014 Lalit Modi spoke to me that his wife was suffering from cancer and her surgery was fixed for 4th August in Portugal," Sushma says, adding, "he told me that he had to be present in the hospital to sign the consent papers."
Sushma says that Lalit Modi informed her that UK government was ready to give him travel documents, but was restrained by a UPA Government communication that this will spoil Indo-UK relations.
"Taking a humanitarian view, I conveyed to the British High Commissioner that "British Government should examine the request of Lalit Modi as per British rules and regulations. If the British Government chooses to give travel documents to Lalit Modi that will not spoil our bilateral relations," Sushma tweeted.
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