New Delhi: Rejecting as "tearjerker" Union minister Sushma Swaraj's emotional statement on Lalit Modi controversy, Congress on Thursday said it was "punctured with multiple holes" and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he cannot "brazen it out" by remaining silent.
Party spokesperson Anand Sharma accused Modi and Swaraj of once again having "misled" the nation "shamelessly and unabashedly".
"You must have seen external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's tearjerker. What we saw was an apology of defence. It is a hogwash which is difficult to accept. It is punctured with multiple holes and is contradictory.
"The basic question is: should a minister clandestinely arrange, facilitate or make requests for travel documents to a fugitive, which were rejected by the British government earlier," Sharma told reporters here.
He was reacting to the statement of Swaraj in the Lok Sabha in which she said that she had not helped Lalit but his cancer-stricken wife and questioned if Sonia Gandhi would have acted differently if faced with such a situation.
"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?" Swaraj said.
Rejecting the defence, Sharma said that Modi government first "murdered" democracy by suspending 25 Congress MPs.
"The arrogance of power reached its zenith today when Modi government brazenly asked foreign minister Swaraj to explain away her unpardonable impropriety, willful lies, criminal intent, gross misuse of office and patent conflict of interest in garb or humanitarian grounds to help Lalit Modi-an Indian fugitive accused of black money laundering, hawala, match-fixing and rigging of contracts," he said.
Sharma said Lalit had admitted his request for travel documents was rejected by British authorities on July 3, 2014.
"By her own admission contained in her tweets dated June 14, 2015, Swaraj enabled the British government to give Lalit Modi travel documents. Obviously, Swaraj's intervention helped Lalit Modi get the travel documents by making the British authorities reverse their decision.
"She hid the fact that the the British government had earlier rejected Lalit's applications for travel documents. Did Swaraj respond after British government or its authorities asked her or the Indian government about it. What can be a greater recommendation (sifarish) than a minister on her own taking up a fugitive's travel document issue with foreign authorities," he said.