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Vasundhara Raje explains her position to Amit Shah; Congress says sack her immediately

PTI 17 Jun 2015, 22:38:47 IST

New Delhi: With her name figuring in the Lalit Modi row, embattled Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Wednesday called up BJP president Amit Shah and explained her position on supporting former IPL chief's immigration plea in Britain.

Sources said Raje discussed with Shah the claims made by Lalit Modi and told the party chief that she did share family ties with the former IPL boss but there was no wrongdoing on her part.

Party sources said Raje has sought to explain her ties between the two families and her friendship with Modi's wife, but the documents being circulated in the media are "unverified and unsigned".

Sources said that Raje is in close touch with the party ever since documents suggesting that Raje had helped scam-tainted Modi's immigration in the UK by giving a written statement.

Read Also: Sushma Swaraj's help to Lalit Modi is a clear case of favouritism: P Chidambaram

She has maintained that she has no knowledge of the documents being shown by the media.

Raje had distanced herself from the document purportedly showing her backing former IPL chief's immigration plea in Britain.

"Of course I know the family. I have always known them...(But) I do not know what documents they are talking about," she had said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, stepping up its offensive on the Lalit Modi controversy, Congress on Wednesday demanded immediate sacking of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje and questioned the "conspiratorial silence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party also announced the start of an agitation in Rajasthan from Thursday demanding resignation of Raje, holding her and Swaraj guilty of "gross constitutional impropriety and blatant misuse of office".

Party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters that the BJP leadership, "instead of defending the indefensible" needed to sack both of them without delay.

Swaraj and Raje are guilty of "violation" of various penal codes of IPC, Surjewala claimed adding that the party would follow all options in the case. He was asked whether the party would take legal recourse.

"There is a clear-cut culpability on part of Swaraj and Raje under sections 107, 120-b, 166A, 172,173,177,217 of the Indian Penal Code. Raje also needs to be prima facie investigated for offences under Prevention of Corruption Act," he said.

Targetting Prime Minister Modi, he said that the PM has "a conspiratorial silence, which can only come from a person who is guilty himself or who has something to hide".

"PM is doing Maun (silent) Yoga. He should be given the new sobriquet of Maun Modi," Surjewala said taking a dig at the Prime Minister.

Noting that Swaraj "by her humanitarian gesture" has permitted a fugitive and money-launderer not only to travel from UK to Portugal but has also facilitated his travel for holidays abroad and back to UK, he said she could not have done all this without collective responsibility of the Cabinet.

"Swaraj could not have done all this without, as Arun Jaitley says, collective responsibility of the Cabinet.

Responsibility and knowledge of Prime Minister is, thus writ large," he said.

When asked whether the Congress would appeal to all other opposition parties to back its stand, he remarked "our appeal is only to 125 crore people of the country, including political parties, to stand with truth."

"Truth must always walk alone," he remarked earlier when asked as to why other opposition parties including Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress have been lukewarm to Congress' campaign on the issue.

He said that every political party should consider the facts which are now in public domain. "Anybody who believes in rule of law and transparency and accountability of the political executive will support our demand.