It's passing the parcel once again in L'affaire Lalit Modi. A day after the Congress said the UPA had written to the UK government to send ex- IPL chief Lalit Modi back, the MEA has now admitted that no attempt was actually made to seek the extradition of Lalit Modi.
"The MEA revoked the passport of Mr Lalit Modi at the request of the Enforcement Directorate on March 3, 2011. At that time or subsequently no request was made from the ED to the MEA to seek the extradition of Mr Lalit Modi," the MEA said in an official statement to Outlook.
The MEA appears to have waded right into the middle of what's being called a fratricidal war between Finance Minister Arun Jaitly and External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Earlier this week, MEA sources had squarely blamed the Finance Ministry for not attempting to get Modi back. Top officials had told Outlook, "the ministry was simply acting at the behest of the Enforcement Directorate. The passport was revoked at the behest of the ED and even the decision not to appeal against the restoration of the passport (by the Delhi High Court in August, 2014) was done at the behest of the Enforcement Directorate."
Officials said it was a top down decision simply conveyed to officials below.
Hitting out at the MEA, the Congress said, "this is an excuse being put up by the MEA to defend the indefensible. The Finance Minister in 2013 had given in writing in a government to government request for repatriation followed by a meeting...with chancellor George Osborne. It does not lie in the mouth of the MEA to say otherwise...it is apparent that there is a fratricidal war going on between the MEA and the Finance Ministry and it is for Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to settle it. They should not help fugitives from the law."
MEA sources had earlier admitted a decision was taken at the highest level that India would not seek extradition of Lalit Modi.