Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Visa row: Presenting Lalit Modi's 'battle-ready' tweets

Former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi made some startling remarks on Tuesday night in an exclusive interview to India Today TV's Rajdeep Sardesai about the ongoing visa controversy involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The former IPL chief, what one can understand from his tweets, was waiting for the interview to drop some "bombshells".

The former IPL chief is at the heart of a controversy which has engulfed Sushma Swaraj over accusations that she put diplomatic pressure on UK authorities to secure travel papers for Modi to visit Portugal, purportedly for his wife's cancer treatment. Modi had come to London in 2010 amid claims that the IPL cricket tournament was embroiled in alleged match-fixing and illegal betting. His Indian passport was later revoked, leaving him grounded in the UK.

Like any Opposition who never lose an opportunity to crucify the party in power, the Congress went after the BJP-led NDA government hammer and tongs over the issue. Accusations flew with demands for Swaraj's resignation. A resurgent Congress vice president, Rahul Gandhi, on Monday continued his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre: "Lalit Modi is a symbol of black money. Mr Modi is standing behind Mr Modi. Who's Sushma Swarajji? She means nothing in this government." Gandhi demanded that PM Modi should sack Sushma Swaraj from the government.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday backed Swaraj, saying the external affairs minister "acted in good faith and all charges against her are baseless." However, in the last four days since the controversy broke, Swaraj has not spoken yet on her relations with Lalit Modi or her role in helping his wife Minal Modi get treatment for cancer in Portugal.

Lalit Modi, on the other hand, told Rajdeep Sardesai before the no holds barred interview that he was "in holiday a mood and is completely oblivious to the controversy." But his tweets said otherwise. On Monday, he had declared 'war' against his critics on Twitter, and had warned: "Now finally it's my turn to get everything out. There are many bombshells." 

We trawled through his tweets to find a 'battle-ready' Lalit Modi all set to take up the challenge head on. "The battle has begun. Watch the fun now," he had said. 

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