In further trouble for the sacked IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, the government may seek his deportation to make him join the probe into the alleged violation of foreign exchange laws in the conduct of T20 cricket tournaments.
Official sources said since Modi's passport has been revoked, ED could seek for his deportation. Authorities have given Modi time till March 31 to either file an appeal to the Ministry of External Affairs or move court in the matter.
Asked about possible deportation of Modi, his lawyer Mehmood A Abdi said that all options are under consideration. "It is under active consideration. All options are being weighed.
We will see what action needs to be taken on it (passport revocation)," Abdi told PTI. However, the sources said, deportation can end up being a long-term process as various legal issues will have to be looked into. Modi, who has been eluding investigating agencies for last six months over allegations of Foreign Exchange Management Act violations, is believed to be in England.
The ED is yet to take a final call on invoking the harsher Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the case, the sources said. They said the ED is studying the FIR filed in Chennai, which can become the basis for registering a case under PMLA.
A PMLA case can be registered against an individual or a company only after a criminal FIR is registered either by the police, vigilance department or other investigative agencies like the CBI. Sources said though the ED is keen to question Modi, the probe pertains to the IPL and not him alone. The Directorate had earlier written to the Regional Passport office in Mumbai to cancel Modi's passport after he refused to physically join the probe in the country, citing security reasons.
He had offered to be questioned through video conferencing or by ED sleuths in London, an offer which was rejected by the Directorate. ED has already issued an international Blue Notice Alert for detention of Modi. The ED notice had said that Modi "has been allegedly involved in serious contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, in connection with the IPL". The notice said Modi 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.