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Did not help Lalit Modi to get travel documents: Sushma Swaraj

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New Delhi: Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a programme organised on the culmination of Indio-Nepal Car Rally at India Gate in New Delhi, on March 8, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)

New Delhi: Speaking amid uproar by the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj denied making any request to the British government for issue of travel documents having any links former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi. Swaraj claimed that all allegations against her were “baseless and unfounded”.
Blasting the Opposition, she said that she was ready for any discussion on the matter but they are not allowing Parliament to run. “From the past 7 days I have been coming to Rajya Sabha so that there can be a discussion. The Opposition does not allow discussion, they only want disruptions,” she said.Swaraj managed to speak a few sentences in the Rajya Sabha amid slogan-shouting by Congress members seeking fixing of accountability in the Lalitgate and Vyapam scam but could not complete her statement, as Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the House amid the din.
Swaraj said she had conveyed on ‘day one’ through Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that she was ready to respond to all charges being made against her. The allegations of assisting Lalit Modi are “baseless and unfounded,” she said, adding “I did not make any request to the British government for issue of travel documents to Lalit Modi.”
She wanted to say more but Kurien adjourned the House amid vociferous protests from the Congress members, who moved into the Well the moment Swaraj rose to speak. The Minister said for two weeks she has been coming to the House every day in the hope of being able to make a statement and clarify on the issue.
Earlier, Congress leader Anand Sharma said the House has been in a stalemate because of the government’s “arrogance”. “This House cannot be in order unless issues have been responded by the Prime Minister on fixing accountability and responsibility.” Government is not serious, he said demanding a response from the Prime Minister.
Kurien said, “unless you start the discussion, Prime Minister cannot respond.” This moment was seized upon by Jaitley who said if Sharma was unwilling to initiate a discussion, Swaraj will make a statement to start the discussion.
Congress members trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans seeking resignations of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in connection with the Lalit Modi controversy and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam scam.

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