New Delhi: While External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she helped former IPL chief Lalit Modi on "humanitarian grounds" to attend to his wife who was undergoing treatment for cancer in Lisbon last year, Huffington Post India said the travel document was issued till 2016, and Modi was seen partying with celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton in foreign locales.
Huffington Post India reproduced the email exchanges between Sushma Swaraj, Lalit Modi, Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz, and the minister's family.
In an article titled "Smoking Gun: Read the emails in the Sushma Swaraj-Lalit Modi scandal", the daily also says Instagram photos of that time "show Modi partying with celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton in foreign locations".
Paris Hilton and Lalit Modi in Cuba. File pic
Huffington Post India says it has seen the emails "which shed light" on exchanges between Lalit Modi, the minister's husband Swaraj Kaushal, Keith Vaz, and the minister's daughter Bansuri Kaushal, who had worked as a legal counsel for Modi.
It quotes the emails to say that in 2013, Swaraj Kaushal asked Lalit Modi if he could help in his nephew's admission to Sussex University.
"Jyotirmay will be very happy if he can get Sussex. Not many students becoz of the present Exchange rate," Swaraj Kaushal wrote on August 26, 2013.
Three days later, Lalit Modi wrote to Keith Vaz to say: "Mrs Sushma Swaraj called to see if we can do anything to help her nephew get into the law program at Sussex. Can you help with this."
Vaz replied to Modi, saying: "Sure, can you get him to send over his CV and name of Professor etc."
On July 31, 2014, Vaz sent an email to Sarah Rapson, an official at the UK Home Office, which said: "Foreign Minister of India has spoken to me making it very clear that the Indian Government has no objection to the travel document being granted which is contrary to what the refusal notice has stated.
"Mrs Swraj has also spoken to Sir James Bevan, who even though is on leave, said he will speak to the relevant person in the Home Office. Frankly everyone has been involved in this apart from (UN Secretary-General) Ban Ki-moon."
On August 1, 2014, Rapson replied: "I understand from my colleagues in Travel Documents that this issue has been resolved and that the solicitors have been contacted with the good news (and indeed the document)."
On the same day, Lalit Modi sent an email to multiple recipients, including Swaraj Kaushal and Naomi Campbell, which said: "Thank you for putting all your might and help and sleepless nights in resolving this major issue which has taken us thru tremendous roller coaster ride."
"Roger and his team backed by just super star Keith Vaz with the support of numerous friends in India, Malta, Portugal, Virginia Waters, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Lyon and some unnamed stars I cannot thank you enough. The sigh of relief I got even for a minute as I held the document before relinquishing to my Portuguese friends was sheer delight. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."
Vaz replied: "From the horses mouth! I will do a thank you we will need her again."
Sushma Swaraj on Sunday admitted she had helped Lalit Modi procure documents to travel to Portugal in July 2014 on "humanitarian grounds" for treatment of his cancer-afflicted wife, amid an escalating row that saw the opposition Congress demand her resignation.
In a series of 14 tweets, Sushma Swaraj said she helped Lalit Modi, who has been staying in London since 2010 following allegations of financial impropriety, after he approached her last July saying his wife was suffering from cancer and was to undergo surgery in Portugal.
Sushma Swaraj, however, denied having sought any favour for her nephew Jyotirmay Kaushal with regard to his admission in a law course at Sussex University.
"What benefit did I pass on to Lalit Modi - that he could sign consent papers for surgery of his wife suffering from cancer? He was in London. After his wife's surgery, he came back to London. What is it that I changed?" she said in tweets.