Lalit modi row: Congress attacks Arun Jaitley on ‘commercial transaction’ remark #Lalitgate

New Delhi(PTI): Congress on Monday remained unrelenting in its attack on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his alleged remark in the US that the deal between Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s son and former IPL chief Lalit Modi was a “commercial transaction”.

“His statement of clarification does not wash. He did say what was published in all the newspapers….It is a realisation that has come late after the damage has been done”, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters. Jaitley, however, has said that he “never used” such a word and that his words were “misinterpreted”.

“I have never used such a word. That is never part of my domain,” Jaitley told reporters when asked about opposition’s allegations that his remarks that the loan given to Dushyant Singh by Modi, the former IPL chief, was a commercial transaction, amounted to giving “clean chit” to the BJP MP. “That is clear misinterpretation of (what I said).

Whatever various assessing authorities in India have to do, its their job. They would continue to do that,” Jaitley said on the sidelines of a public event at the Stanford University. Sharma insisted that the Finance Minister “should have been more careful, restrained and balanced” in his remarks as cases have been registered in the matter by the Enforcement Directorate, which is under his ministry and his comment would adversely affect the probe.

Besides, the senior Congress spokesman alleged that Jaitley has also given “clean chit” to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj despite her “act of gross impropriety”. The party had yesterday attacked Jaitley with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad saying, “It is a clear-cut cover-up. We charge the Finance Minister with influencing the ED probe in Raje’s son Dushyant Singh and Lalit Modi’s case.”

Azad wondered as to what made the Finance Minister give a “clean chit” to Raje’s son and Modi, when these “shady transactions” of converting “ill-gotten black money” were being probed. Swaraj and Raje have been facing flak for “helping” Modi in procuring travel documents in the UK, a country which he has made his home to avoid legal processes in India.

Modi, 49, travelled to London in 2010 after the Indian Premier League (IPL) became embroiled in allegations of match-fixing and illegal betting.