Brit Indian MP Vaz facing calls to step down for abusing power

March 16th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

” London, Mar.16 (ANI): Keith Vaz, the Brit-Indian Labour MP, is facing calls to resign as the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee after a letter surfaced that said that he had asked a High Court judge to halt a case in which a friend stood to lose 400,000 pounds. According to The Telegraph, Vaz intervened on behalf of a Shahrokh Mireskandari, a high-profile solicitor and convicted con man from whom he had allegedly received hospitality.
It has been confirmed that Vaz signed the letter in his capacity as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, sparking claims that he abused his position.
Opposition parties have called for the former minister to step down, with Tory justice spokesman Dominic Grieve saying that the news “casts real doubt on his continuing as chair”.
The existence of the letter was made public in September last year and a parliamentary sleaze investigation requested by Vaz cleared him of misconduct.
But the publication of its contents has renewed focus on the senior Labour figure’’s relationship with Mireskandari, who has also donated money to the party.
In the letter sent on June 19 last year, Vaz, MP for Leicester East, said that he was “deeply concerned” about how the “ethnic-minority” law firm Dean and Dean had been dealt with, and called for the hearing to be adjourned.
The company, which is run by Mireskandari, faced bankruptcy if the judge ordered it to pay 400,000 pounds to an airline after a long-running contractual dispute.
The note, which was written on House of Commons notepaper and did not mention Vaz’’s personal relationship with the solicitor, was reportedly dismissed by the judge.
It was co-signed by Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, who has subsequently said she was not aware of the extent of Vaz’’s friendship with Mr Mireskandari.
Last night, Vaz told the Daily Mail: “The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has considered all the evidence on this matter and dismissed the complaints in full. I have nothing to add.” (ANI)

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