Whichever way you look at it, whatever your political leanings, Sushma Swaraj’s case involving Lalit Modi is a copybook case of corruption. Let me tell you why.
Lalit Modi is a fugitive, now in his hideout in the United Kingdom, and wanted in India for money laundering and other grave economic offenses. And what does Madam do?
First, as Leader of the Opposition, which enjoins a cabinet rank, she reaches out to the fugitive to get a seat for her nephew in a law school in the UK. Breathtaking. The admission is got. The bhakts were asking, “Which law has been broken?” The point is simple: in a propriety issue, no law is broken. Someone in governance seeking favors from a person who is being prosecuted by the country is simply stinking.
Next up, madam’s daughter, while madam is External Affairs Minister, is the counsel in the passport case that Lalit Modi is fighting against Madam’s department. Can any thing be more breathtaking? The mother’s office is prosecuting; the daughter is defending, even as mother and daughter are in the best of relations. This is the textbook definition of conflict of interest.
Look at the joke. When Modi’s passport case is being defended in court by the daughter, the mother uses her office to pursue the case of his travel documents. The prosecutor is now the benefactor, returning a favor. This is what corruption is about. You don’t have to pay money, nor have you to identify the currency notes. Even if you give her the benefit of doubt, should she not have put her hand up as an interested party and passed on the decision to the finance ministry? Instead she kept everyone in the dark.
Now let’s listen to her defence: “humanitarian”. That’s fantastic nonsense. Portugal law does not require written consent of anyone other than the patient, if the patient is over 14. Even assuming it’s not so, why should Madam, a nationalist of 60 plus years standing, not have insisted that the travel document be specific for that visit. Why was it instead for two years? Little wonder, on that document, the Modi holidayed in multiple parts of the world, making a mockery of law. Should she not have demanded that after his visit to Portugal he return to India to meet the Enforcement Directorate? She would have, if she had not been compromised.
No one was taken into confidence. No one was kept in the loop. In short what she did was what you watch in movies: a rogue cop facilitating the escape of a criminal from the jail during the night and ensuring that he returns before day break.
If she was honest, she should have “as an Indian, asked the Indian citizen to approach the Indian High Commission in London for an Indian travel document and demanded that post his vest to Portugal he return to India.” Of-course you don’t expect such things from a nationalist, certified from the RSS School of Nationalism.
Several questions abound. Why did she facilitate the return of the fugitive to his hideout instead of to India? Was she not thus abetting his escaping a blue corner notice? Is that not punishable under the Indian Penal Code? In any other civilized nation she would have been arrested by now.
Her husband’s hotel bills are paid by him. We are told that he handles Modi’s case for free! If the relationship is that chummy, the minimum that was expected was to have announced her conflict of interest. Instead what does she do? She sits on the file, which would have lead to appealing against the High Court’s judgment on the passport issue to the Supreme Court. If this is not corruption, boy what else is?
This government gives passport to a traitor called Geelani, saying otherwise it would violate of law. The big man who tweets on everything has so far been breathtakingly silent on Sushma Swaraj.
[Edited and Updated version of the article that first appeared in IE Blogs]