New Delhi: Under attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday made an emotional statement in the Lok Sabha, saying she had not helped Lalit Modi but his cancer-stricken wife and questioned if Sonia Gandhi would have acted differently if faced with such a situation.
She insisted that she had made "no request or recommendation" to the UK government for giving travel documents to Lalit Modi but had left the decision to Britain.
Swaraj, whose ouster is being demanded vigorously by the opposition leading to a deadlock in Parliament, made a statement with a preface in which she regretted that "her friends" in the opposition had been targeting her and not even ready to listen to her version on the issue.
She said she had been waiting all the while since the Monsoon session began on July 21 to make a statement and a discussion to clarify her position as "baseless" and "untrue" allegations were being levelled against her and "disinformation" is being carried out in the media repeatedly.
Amid thumping of benches by the ruling party members and in the absence of boycotting members of Congress and several opposition parties, she said, "I challenge those making accusations against me to produce even one document, one chit or an e-mail to back their allegations."
She said she had only told the British government that relations with that country will not be affected if they choose to provide him travel documents to visit Portugal to be with his wife who was facing "life threatening" ailment and required immediate treatment which was full of risk.
"His wife has been suffering from cancer for the last 17 years and it is the 10th time it has recurred… I want to ask what Sonia Gandhi would have done had she been in my place.
Would she have left her to die," she said, reading from the reports of Portugese doctors and the statement of Modi's wife.