Ahead of Parliament session, Congress to keep heat on Lalitgate

New Delhi,Iftikhar Gilani: A year ago, a demoralised Congress was struggling to even cobble together its MPs to challenge the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in Parliament. But, luck has smiled on the party, its hands are full and leaders are some way in a fix to choose amongst issues ranging from Lalitgate to Vyapam to Maharashtra chikki scam, to take on the government in the coming monsoon session of Parliament starting on July 20.

Pinning hopes on the Supreme Court to monitor and hand over the Madhya Pradesh Vypam scam to the CBI, which is hearing the petition on Thursday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is keen to bring focus back on Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for allegedly helping the tainted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

Rahul will be visiting Rajasthan on July 16 and 17 to bring the Lalitgate back in focus and set the Congress agenda for Parliament session. His visit is expected to revive the focus on Raje and Swaraj for allegedly going out of the way to help Modi, wanted by the Enforcement Directorate. During Rahul’s visit, the party plans public meetings to ‘expose Raje’s misdeeds’, including how she allegedly grabbed government property in league with Modi to run a luxury hotel.

It is no secret, the party sources said, that the Congress spokespersons have asserted time and again that the party would not allow a smooth run of Parliament if Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not end his “Maun Yoga” (silence) and sacks both Raje and Swaraj. The party feels since more and more BJP leaders are getting embroiled in controversies, Rahul does not want to miss the opportunity to corner the government and the ruling party, taking advantage of the three-week Parliament session that begins on July 21

Congress has dubbed the MP Vyapam scam bigger than the fodder scam of then chief minister Lalu Prasad in Bihar and the teachers’ recruitment scam of Haryana in which then chief minister Om Prakash Chautala is cooling heels in Tihar Jail. The party spokesperson R P N Singh hoped that the Supreme Court will take suo moto cognizance to monitor the CBI probe itself.

“The Congress believes that a CBI inquiry in itself will be meaningless, given the track record of the Modi government in detrimentally influencing investigations and making agencies toothless, subservient puppets, as is evident in the way the NIA has been functioning.” He also released a ‘factsheet’, claiming that it leaves no doubts about “the complicity, culpability and collusion of the chief minister in the Vyapam scam.” He also faulted the CM of taking a convoluted stance even while writing to the High Court for a CBI probe by stressing that he has full faith in the STF (Special Task Force) and its functioning till now in probing the scam.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate that registered a money-laundering case in March last year in the Vyapam scam, is understood to have been able to establish the money trail left behind by its alleged kingpin Jagdish Sagar, an Indore businessman. He is in jail, along with his accomplices.