Backing Modi plea Vasundhara Raje claimed attacks on him were œpolitically motivated
New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had backed the immigration plea of scam-tainted former IPL boss Lalit Modi in Britain in 2011, contending she had no doubt that the frontal attack he was facing in India then was “politically motivated”.
“Given my close understanding of, and involvement in Indian politics, I have absolutely no doubt that the broad, full frontal attack that Lalit is currently facing in India is politically motivated.
“Certain elements within Indian politics seek to preserve their own interest by exacting revenge on political opponents. This is exactly the motive that is guiding the attack on Lalit at the moment in India,” she had said in her witness statement before the British authorities.
She insisted that by “destroying” and “discrediting” Modi the congress party hoped to remove, “one of my key supporters” from the political scene.
“In the course of doing so by virtue of my association with him, they hope to politically discredit me as well,” she said in the witness statement given on August 18, 2011.
The Rajasthan Chief Minister said the information contained in the statement was “true, correct and accurate” to the best of her knowledge and belief.
The statement was released by senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh which at the outset has a ‘confidentiality notice', insisting that it is provided on the “strict understanding that its contents and the identity of its maker are treated confidentially and that it is used only for the purposes stated in it.”
“I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes, but do on a strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authorities,” Raje, who gave this undertaking as the then Opposition Leader of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, said.
In the statement, released by the Congress, Raje also said, “Lalit's close connection to me has resulted in huge animosity towards him from the Congress party, both at the Rajasthan and the national levels.”
“The political attack which is currently underway against Lalit in India, is in my opinion, designed to destroy Lalit's reputation to keep him out of Rajasthan Cricket and politics and to thereby discredit me.”
Raje said she was also aware that Modi, in the context of his role as IPL founder and chairman, had major run-ins with prominent Central government ministers.
“I will not comment upon those conflicts as they have never involved me directly. What is clear, however, is that they have only served to exacerbate Lalit's difficulties with the ruling Congress party,” she said in her witness statement.
Raje also said that given her family's long history in public and political life in India and its involvement with the BJP since its inception and due to her position of importance within the party in Rajasthan, “I am a key political target as far as the Congress party is concerned.”
She alleged that a significant part of Congress party's election campaign (in 2008) was devoted to the propagation of smear campaign against her and Modi.
“They made numrous unfounded allegations of corruption during my time as Chief Minister. By this time, Lalit had become a household name in India and indeed across the sporting world following the phenomenal success of the inaugural IPL.
“Lalit's success was used by many of the cricketing and political old guard within the Congress party with great jealosuly and animoisty. By this point, whether he liked it or not, Lalit had been painted as a pro-BJP and an anti-Congress figure,” she said.
Raje credited the former IPL commissioner for “revolutionising” cricket in both Rajasthan and whole of India.
“By leading this revolution from Rajasthan during my tenure as CM, Lalit became widely recognised as someone closely associated with me,” she said.
She added when BJP was narrowly defeated by the Congress in 2008 “Lalit was one of my main supporters during the election campaign. Our close working relationship and association was public knowledge.”