New Delhi | A combative Government today fought back days of unabated onslaught by the Opposition over the Lalitgate, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley unleashing a point by point rebuttal of all allegations and accusing the Congress of helping Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi and Bhopal gas leak accused Warren Anderson escape out of the country.
An adjournment motion of the Opposition on the issue was defeated by a voice vote after over five hour-long marathon debate in the Lok Sabha that took place under a highly charged atmosphere.
In a fierce war of words amidst constant sloganeering by the Congress and other Opposition members in the House that saw both the treasury and opposition benches breaking into frequent uproar, the Government categorically rejected the demand for resignation of Ms Swaraj, while the Opposition launched a no holds barred attack on her and also on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that he come in the House and break his silence on the Lalitgate.
Ms Swaraj, in a spirited defence, asserted that she had done no wrong, and rejected the Congress charge of conflict of interest, saying that her husband had not appeared for Lalit Modi in his passport case in the court, and her lawyer daughter had not received a single money from Modi.
She said her action in not opposing UK government’s decision to grant travel document to Lalit Modi was impelled by ”humanitarian considerations” as he wanted to be with his wife in Portugal where she was to undergo a cancer surgery.
Ms Swaraj rather pointed out that it was during the UPA regime that Modi got right of residency in the UK.
Dismissing her explanation, Congress vice-president repeated his charge that Ms Swaraj and her family received monetary benefits from Modi and her help to him on ”humanitarian ground” was only a quid pro quo.
Ms Swaraj advised Mr Gandhi to read the history of his family when he goes on sabbatical next time, and ask his mother how much money Quattrocchi gave to her and why Warren Anderson was allowed to flee out of the country.
Mr Gandhi hit back at the Government training his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he did not have the guts to face the House. Mr Jaitely told Mr Gandhi that ”Do not make a monkey out of this country”, and called him an ”an expert without any knowledge”.
He said the Congress demand for Sushma Swaraj’s resignation was just an excuse for ”sabotaging the India growth story, for sabotaging the GST Bill”. ”The fact is that you ran a failed and corrupt government,” added Mr Jaitley.
He pointed out that no red corner notice was issued against Modi under the UPA government while a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) under which arrest warrant could be issued was pending in the court.
”Now on 5th August, 2015, Lalit Modi has become liable to be arrested,” he said.
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