Mumbai/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED), the agency that investigates foreign exchange violations in India, issued a blue corner notice against former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi for alleged rule breaches while conducting the event.
A blue corner notice is an international alert to law-enforcement agencies to obtain information about a person’s activities. It essentially means that Modi can be detained by such agencies at any international checkpoint or at any place outside the country and be deported to India for questioning in the IPL case.
According to an ED official who did not want to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media, the department issued the notice as Modi has not replied to summons served by the agency. “A summons requires a personal appearance before the department and Lalit Modi has failed to appear before the agency for interrogation,” said the same official.
ED, which is probing Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema) violations against Modi, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and three IPL franchisees, has summoned Modi more than once for interrogation in the last few months.
The blue corner notice issued by ED on 1 October mentions Modi’s name, passport number and his date of birth, according to another ED official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. The notice also said Modi is suspected to have “acquired potential foreign exchangeoutside India” and faces accusations related to the “contravention of Fema”.
Mohammed Abdi, lawyer, Wadia Ghandy and Co., who is representing Modi, said: “We are assessing the situation and are in the process of devising an appropriate response.”
“Modi has been cooperating with all agencies, and all notices and summons have duly and timely been replied to. All documents that have been called for (by the investigating agencies) have been provided to the investigating agencies,” Abdi said, adding that as far as the matter of Modi’s personal presence was concerned, he had explained several times that he was unable to be present only on account of security concerns.
He had alternatively offered to be available (for questioning) through video conferencing, appearing before overseas authorities or the Indian high commission in London. Modi has also been under the scanner of the income-tax department for alleged violation of income-tax rules.
Earlier this year, Modi was suspended as the head of the cricket league following several charges of irregularities, both legal as well as financial, in the functioning of IPL.
The charges being examined by BCCI’s disciplinary committee included irregularities in the initial bids for the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab teams as well as the bids for the two new IPL teams this year; grey areas in IPL’s broadcasting deal with Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd; lack of clarity in the Internet rights awarded by IPL to Global Cricket Ventures; and leak of confidential information to the media, among others.