Keith Vaz reported to parliamentary standards commissioner over lobbying visa officials for controversial cricketing tycoon

The Labour MP wrote to the director-general of UK visas and immigration, asking whether Lalit Modi’s 'travel document could be made available'

Emily Dugan
Sunday 07 June 2015 17:27 BST
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Member of the NEC Keith Vaz
Member of the NEC Keith Vaz (Getty)

The former head of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, has been reported to the parliamentary standards commissioner after lobbying visa officials on behalf of a controversial cricketing tycoon.

The senior Labour MP wrote to Sarah Rapson, the director-general of UK visas and immigration, asking whether IPL cricket league founder Lalit Modi’s “travel document could be made available”, the Sunday Times revealed.

Mr Modi fled India for London in 2010 after his Indian passport was revoked amid claims of financial irregularities. In the 1980s he pleaded guilty to drugs and kidnap charges in America.

After a protracted battle with immigration authorities in Britain he was finally granted leave to remain in March last year, which meant he was able to apply for British travel papers.

Mr Vaz’s intervention helped Mr Modi get the necessary documents. He was so pleased at the result that he sent his friends and family an email in which he thanked his legal team “backed by just superstar Keith Vaz.”

At the time Mr Vaz intervened in the case he was chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is designed to hold the immigration authorities to account. The high-profile politician is standing for re-election as chair of the committee this weekend.

The Labour MP insisted there was “no conflict of interest” between his intervention and position on the committee and said that he had written the letter because Mr Modi’s wife had cancer and needed to travel abroad for treatment. But Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has referred the case to parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson.

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