Lalit Modi is in the news once more.
Indian cricket administration’s enfant terrible has snagged yet another victim.
This time, it’s External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Swaraj finds herself embroiled in a conflict of interest.
The minister championed Lalit Modi’s cause requesting the British government to let Modi to travel to Portugal to visit his ailing wife citing ‘humanitarian‘ grounds.
Whether the minister was in the right is debatable. But she was clearly in the wrong in acting for Modi because her daughter is on Lalit Modi’s legal defense team. So is her husband (Swaraj’s son-in-law).
The last time, the UPA was in power, Shashi Tharoor—coincidentally Minister of State for External Affairs—had to resign his seat because of similar conflict of interest allegations. His then wife (now deceased) Sunanda Pushkar was an interested party in the forming of the Kochi Tuskers (now defunct) franchise.
What is it about Indian politicians and conflict of interest situations?
Is it time our politicians were made to undergo an induction training session where a conflict of interest situation is made clear to them?
Are these high-profile names merely the tip of the iceberg and simply anything goes in Indian politics where non-transparency is the norm?
It will be interesting to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi handles the first real blemish on his government’s record. Will the NDA emulate the UPA and ask Sushma Swaraj to resign? Or will it be simply a case of ‘I dare you to prove otherwise.‘?