Mumbai court issues non-bailable arrest warrant against Lalit Modi

  • Charul Shah, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 21:02 IST

A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against former IPL chief Lalit Modi over a case of money laundering.

The warrant was issued by the special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act on a plea from the Enforcement Directorate.

ED sources told Hindustan Times that the agency will send the warrant to the ministry of external affairs, which in turn, will send it to the UK through diplomatic channels. The cricket czar has been based in London ever since he left the country in 2010 following the ED probe against him.

The probe is over alleged "unauthorised payments" on a deal between MSM Singapore (which owns the channel Sony) and WSG media, a sports marketing and event management company.

ED had moved the court last week seeking an NBW after Modi did not respond to the summons sent to him.

Getting the warrant was not easy for the probe agency as judge PR Bhavake first questioned ED's delay in seeking the NBW and later raised the jurisdictional issue too.

The court also wanted to know why the agency was not arresting him and had sought the NBW, and whether a warrant can be issued during the investigation.

ED's lawyer Hiten Venegoankar replied an NBW was required as Modi was not available in India, and had not replied to summonses issued to him since 2009.

When the judge said that Modi needed to be an accused before the court, the ED lawyer argued that the Supreme Court had said in a previous ruling that NBW can be issued during investigation.

Last month, the court had issued letters rogatory (LR) to Singapore and Mauritius, seeking assistance from authorities there in the case.

In 2008, when Lalit Modi was the IPL chairman, the BCCI awarded a 10-year media rights to WSG for USD 918 million. WSG then entered into a deal with MSM to make Sony the official broadcaster. The contract was replaced later with a nine-year deal where MSM paid USD 1.63 billion.

In 2009, the ED started a probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to investigate allegations that payment of Rs 425 crore facilitation fees by MSM Singapore to WSG Mauritius was made in an unauthorised manner. Next year the BCCI registered an FIR in Chennai against Modi under various sections of the IPC.

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