New Delhi: Caught on the back-foot after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj admitted to extending help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, government sources on Sunday said the minister's position has become untenable. Sources added that the Prime Minister's Office is aware of the developments and is looking into the matter.
Sources added Sushma has also explained the situation to the Prime Minister and has claimed to follow the rule book.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party sources said that Sushma's response on Twitter regarding Lalit Modi is the final word from the government. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh also backed Sushma with RSS leader Indresh Kumar saying, "There is a reason why Sushma Swaraj enjoys an impeccable reputation. Sushma would never compromise with india's security."
Sushma admitted that she had no objection to Modi's request to be allowed to travel out of UK and spoke to this effect with British MP Keith Vaz and the British High Commissioner. Sushma clarified that she intervened on humanitarian grounds as Modi's wife needed treatment in Portugal.
Sushma tweeted, "Sometime in July 2014 Lalit Modi spoke to me that his wife was suffering from cancer and her surgery was fixed for August 4 in Portugal. He told me that he had to be present in the hospital to sign the consent papers. He informed me that he had applied for travel documents in London and UK government was prepared to give him the travel documents."
Upping the ante against the Narendra Modi government, the Congress has demanded Sushma's resignation and a probe into the incident.
Stressing on the party's demand, senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said, "If allegations against Sushma Swaraj are true, she must step down. PM Modi must intervene in the matter and order a probe."
The Congress has also demanded a probe into the incident. Senior leader Digvijaya Singh said, "Shocked by allegations levelled against Sushma Swaraj. She should take moral responsibility and quit. PM Modi must intervene in the matter and order a probe."
Backing Singh, another Congress leader Sachin Pilot said, "PM Modi must intervene in the matter and order a probe. If allegations against Sushma are true, she must step down. We all know that Lalit Modi is a known criminal offender. Why was Sushma Swaraj in touch with Lalit Modi? The Modi government's doublespeak has been exposed."
Condemning Sushma's move, Janata Dal United leader KC Tyagi said, "Sushma Swaraj must come clean on why she helped Lalit Modi. We condemn Sushma Swaraj's intervention to help a criminal like Modi."
Taking a dig at the Modi government, the Aam Aadmi Party said that 'ache din' has arrived for Lalit Modi. "Lalit Modi will come back to India as he is very close to the BJP. 'Ache din' for Lalit Modi have certainly arrived," said AAP's Rahul Mehra.
CNN-IBN has also accessed Vaz's letter reportedly written to the UK immigration office- wherein he said that he did speak to Sushma on the issue and she told him that the Indian government has no issues with Lalit Modi's travel request.
Sushma tweeted, "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. Keith Vaz also spoke to me and I told him precisely what I told the British High Commissioner. I genuinely believe that in a situation such as this, giving emergency travel documents to an Indian citizen cannot and should not spoil relations between the two countries. I may also state that only a few days later, Delhi High Court quashed UPA government's order impounding Lalit Modi's passport on the ground that the said order was unconstitutional being violative of fundamental rights and he got his passport back."
Modi had earlier been restricted from travelling out of UK. His Indian passport was revoked amidst allegations of match fixing.