Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday demanded that the central government release the letters exchanged between him as the Union finance minister in the UPA regime and British Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne on the case against former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi.
Speaking to the media in Chennai, Chidambaram urged the government to make public the correspondence between him and the British chancellor of exchequer and asked who at the Centre took the decision not to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order to restore Lalit Modi's passport.
"Why is the government fighting shy of releasing the letters" Chidambaram asked.
He said the external affairs minister should have advised Lalit Modi to apply for temporary travel papers to the Indian High Commission in Britain as he is an Indian citizen.
Chidambaram wondered why Sushma Swaraj asked a British parliamentarian to facilitate travel papers to Modi to travel to Portugal.
Recalling from his memory, Chidambaram said he wrote to his British counterpart Osborne that Lalit Modi was being investigated under Indian laws and the British government should send him back to India as his passport was revoked by the Indian government.
According to Chidambaram, current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that Lalit Modi has been issued 15 show cause notices out of 16 cases for which he is being investigated.
Not terming the controversy as a corruption in the BJP-led central government, Chidambaram said the help given to Lalit Modi was a clear case of abuse of authority, nepotism and flouting of rules.
Chidambaram demanded answers to his questions:
(a) Why is the government not releasing the letters between him and his British counterpart?
(b) Who took the decision in the government against going on appeal against the Delhi High Court's ruling restoring passport to Modi?
(c) Why did Sushma Swaraj not advise Modi to approach the Indian High Commission and apply for temporary travel documents to travel to Portugal?
(d) Why didn't Sushma Swaraj insist that Modi return to India for issue of travel documents?
(e) Who took the decision to issue a fresh passport to Modi?
(f) Has the Indian government lodged its objections to the British government on the issue of long visa for Modi?
(g) Is not the BJP government capable of providing security to Modi's life when he says his life is at risk if he comes back to India?
Citing Jaitley's comment that as a government, it was the collective responsibility for the decisions taken, Chidambaram said it means Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also responsible for the decisions taken in the case of Lalit Modi.