Government today appeared to be willing to brazen out the massive controversy engulfing Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over helping Lalit Modi by stating that "nobody is tainted".
Putting up a brave front in the wake of the growing Opposition chorus for the resignation of Raje and Sushma, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the media, "Well, there is nobody who is tainted please" shortly after his arrival in Delhi from the US.
Another senior minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, said the Narendra Modi government was working in the "most honest and transparent" manner and blamed some "unhappy people" for the outcry over Raje’s help to the former IPL boss.
"As far as party is concerned everything is happening positively," he said as reporters sought to know BJP leadership’s stand on the raging row.
Coming to the defence of Raje, party spokesperson Sambit Patra asked, "What is the impropriety in the case of Raje? These are only some documents. Their authenticity is yet to be proved. Did she testify before any court and before a judge? Has the UK government said anything?"
BJP Secretary Shrikant Sharma hit out at Congress for levelling "baseless allegations" against Raje and claimed the opposition party was acting out of "frustration".
Seeking to put a lid on speculation that she has been asked to quit, Raje’s office termed it as "untrue" while complaining about "unsubstantiated media reports."
The CMO came out with two statements in Jaipur denying media reports and dismissing speculation that she had convened a meeting of BJP MLAs to put pressure on the party leadership to desist taking action against her.
However, the statement makes no mention of the raging controversy that has engulfed Raje over a witness statement she purportedly provided in 2011 to Lalit Modi, former IPL chairman, who is wanted in India to answer grave charges of financial crimes.
Adding to her woes, a picture of then BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Raje and HRD Minister Smriti Irani at a dinner in London on July 20, 2011 surfaced today.
The picture was taken a month before she allegedly signed the statement in August 2011, supporting Lalit Modi’s immigration appeal.
She was part of BJP delegation to London organised by the Overseas Friends of the BJP, which helps popularize the party abroad and mobilizes support among NRIs. Raje is reported to have stayed back in London to assist the former IPL chief.