New Delhi: As the Opposition mounted pressure on the government to take action against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also got dragged into the controversy surrounding former IPL chief Lalit Modi on Tuesday.

Modi’s public relations team released a three-page note to news channels which put Raje, an old family friend, in deep trouble. The note revealed that Raje, then leader of the Opposition, gave a confidential witness statement on August 18, 2011, to British authorities supporting the former IPL chief’s immigration application. 

Raje issued the statement after the UPA government had decided to revoke his passport on March 3, 2011. Modi, however, got his passport back through a Delhi High Court order on August 14, 2014.  

Modi has reportedly told news channels that Raje gave her testimony but it was not taken on record since she did not appear in a court pleading his case. “This witness statement is provided on the strict understanding that its contents and the identity of its maker are treated confidentially and that it is used only for the purposes stated in it,” said Raje’s statement which

carried her name but no signature. 

“I make this statement in support of any immigration application that Lalit Modi makes but do so on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to Indian authorities,” the introduction stated. 

This was much before Sushma Swaraj in her capacity as the external affairs minister gave a no-objection certificate last July to British authorities to grant travel papers to NRI Lalit Modi, living in London since 2010, if it was permissible under their immigration rules.  

The UK  government allowed Modi to travel to Portugal to sign consent papers at a Lisbon hospital to carry out a surgery on his wife who was suffering from cancer.

After taking charge as chief minister of Rajasthan, the Raje government signed an agreement with the Lisbon hospital where Modi’s wife underwent surgery to start a cancer institute in the state.

Raje, however, vehemently denied giving such a statement. “Of course I know the family…I have never made any bones about that...but I don’t know what documents you people are talking about,” she told a news agency.  

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