New Delhi, Jun 15: Opposition parties today asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explain on the issue of the help provided by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to scam-tainted former IPL chief Lalit Modi and also sought her resignation in the matter.
Even as the ruling BJP stood by Swaraj, Congress slammed its "double standards" and said that the prime minister must apologise to the nation over the controversy. "This has happened because Lalit Modi... also is a 'Modi'. Hence, the government of India is helping him. I strongly condemn it. I condemn BJP's double standards.
"The government is jointly responsible for this. Swaraj should resign immediately. Since the government, too, is responsible for this, the Prime Minister should apologise to the nation," said Congress leader Pramod Tiwari.
According to British media, which quoted leaked emails, Swaraj's name was cited to put pressure on UK's top immigration official to grant British travel papers to Lalit Modi, who is accused of misappropriation of funds in the T20 cricket tournament.
CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury demanded that the Prime Minister tell Parliament and the nation how the matter is going to be addressed. "First of all, there are very serious charges raised against the External Affairs Minister.
But the Prime Minister has been quiet and silent. "We are asking the Prime Minister to tell us how this is going to be addressed... So, in this situation, the Prime Minister, whose prerogative it is to keep whomever he wishes in the Council (of Ministers), has to answer this," Yechury told reporters.
Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said Swaraj should not have had intervened in the matter and now she must own up to having done something "improper" in her capacity as a minister. The BJP though continued to support Swaraj with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan saying she had helped Lalit Modi on "humanitarian grounds".
"Sushma Swaraj's life is filled with transparency and honesty. Her honesty is beyond doubt. Whatever she did, she did it on humanitarian grounds. If someone is helped abiding by rules and regulations, then where is the crime in that?" he asked.