By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
Lalit Modi is not new to courting controversy but this big fish is caught in a bigger net this time. If someone has any doubt about his credentials just open the Wikipedia posting of this dude. Despite coming from a very well to do background, his run-ins with the law have become a sort of habit. He got lucky with charges like assault, drugs and kidnapping in the 80’s but some people don’t learn from their mistakes, they just get creative. The only twist in this story is that it happens to embroil Foreign Minister, a chief minister and the institution of IPL that people love and hate at the same time.
Why IPL founder got involved in financial hogwash is his problem but others involve in the controversy should come out with all the facts. There is hardly any doubt that Sushma Swaraj is one of the most eloquent and effective politicians in the country and both her opposition and party members hold her in high regards for her public service but given her reputation, track record and the nature of the office she is holding, she should consider stepping down, on moral grounds, until everything becomes clear. We can give her benefit of the doubt that she gave Lalit Modi permission to travel abroad on humanitarian grounds and the fact that her daughter represented Modi does not prove anything about her involvement but to put it plainly, it just looks odd. She did a great job in getting desperate Indians and foreigners out during Yemen crisis and with PM Modi’s efforts towards foreign policy and international relations her role becomes all too important and it is for the sake of this responsibility she should choose to step aside until the charges are cleared.
Now coming to CM Vasundhara Raje, same set of rules applies here too but her case is more serious. Aiding a guy who is accused of corruption and backing his application to get out of the country and evade justice would be hard thing to defend for BJP let alone any party, until these documents are shown to be false or UK courts make public any signed evidence, she should also step aside but it doesn’t seems to be happening anytime soon. But scapegoat or no scapegoat, she might have to pay the price of befriending Lalit Modi and given the “don’t ask me“ answers her party men are giving in the media, it might very well be her Ministerial post. Raje does not have the national level following as Sushma and as far as ordinary citizens are concerned she was never a public outreach type.
If BJP don’t want to make same mistakes like Congress they have to be watchful about these issues. It might not disparage the overall reputation of PM office but it does put a dent in the party’s perception. Lalit Modi hasn’t done anything so far to give any indication of his innocence, maybe he is just a pawn in a larger political game but his culpability is not in question here, its those in power who shielded this sort of person is troubling.