Enforcement Directorate To Slap 16 Penalty Notices Against Lalit Modi, Others

15/06/2015 10:06 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Suspended Indian Premier League Chairman Lalit Modi, center, is surrounded by bodyguards, media, and onlookers as he arrives at the airport from a flight in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 28, 2010. Modi was suspended Sunday and is under investigation on allegations of corruption dating back to the IPL's inaugural season in 2008. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

NEW DELHI — The ED is in the process of serving final penalty notices in 16 alleged forex violation cases amounting to an estimated Rs 1,700 crore against former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi and others as part of its wide-ranging probe in the alleged financial irregularities in various editions of the T-20 cricket extravaganza.

High-level Enforcement Directorate sources said apart from these cases, two other instances of suspected contravention of foreign exchange laws and hawala transactions are also being investigated by the central probe agency and these include investigations on the role of Modi.

Investigation in a third case of money laundering against the former cricket czar, sources said, is also "underway" which is related to the alleged misappropriation of funds in allotment of cricket media rights by BCCI in 2009.

"About 16 cases being probed under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) are in the final stages of adjudication, which means final orders for penalty will be served in the coming months against the accused which includes all the important functionaries of the IPL-BCCI including Modi.

"The cases amount to violations of an estimated Rs 1,600 crore and the the maximum penalty that can be slapped on the accused could be three times of this amount," a source said.

The agency, in February, had slapped a similar Rs 425 crore show-cause notice against Modi, former BCCI boss Srinivasan, the IPL, private multimedia firms for alleged contravention of forex laws in awarding a cricketing media rights contract in 2009.

The sources added that the money laundering case, registered early this year, has been filed by the agency based on an FIR filed by Srinivasan with Chennai police for suspected bungling of funds in awarding media rights for broadcasting BCCI-IPL cricket matches.

The agency sources said all the cases being probed against Modi and his associates in IPL-BCCI are related to various editions of the glamorous T-20 matches which were held in the country and specifically the second edition of the tournament which was held in South Africa in 2009.

Over the years, Modi and his team of lawyers have denied any wrongdoing in these instances.

Sources said ED's 2010 Interpol 'Blue Notice' against Modi is still valid and it could be "upgraded" to the stringent 'Red' category if the case being probed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) gets "solid evidence".

While a 'Blue Notice' authorises Interpol "to collect additional information about a person's identity, location or activities in relation to a crime", a 'Red' Interpol notice authorises law enforcement agencies to "arrest wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action".

Modi's lawyer Mehmood Abdi during a press conference in Mumbai, however, denied existence of any Blue' notice against him.

The 'Blue' notice issued by ED against Modi said he "is suspected to have fraudulently acquired substantial foreign exchange outside India by misusing his position as Chairman, IPL.

"He is alleged to have made investments in some of the franchises of the IPL to certain front companies abroad. He has not appeared for his examinations under summon issued to him. By non-compliance of the summon, he (Modi) is stalling the investigations being conducted by the ED," the notice issued in 2010 said.

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