ED checks if Lalit Modi got Rs 125cr from IPL TV rights transfer fee
The Enforcement Directorate will examine if former IPL boss Lalit Modi benefitted from a payment of Rs 425 crore by a Singapore-based company to an obscure firm in Mauritius for television rights of the popular cricket tournament.
The ED has been probing allegations that Rs 125 crore of the total payment from MSM Satellite Singapore Pvt Ltd went as kickbacks to Modi, who is facing accusations of tax fraud and money laundering.
The former cricket czar had denied on his website any wrongdoing in the case, which has been under investigation since 2010, and his lawyers have been cooperating in the inquiry, a government official said.
Sources said the ED probed allegations that the IPL media rights were first awarded to a Mauritius-based firm, allegedly having no prior known activity related to either sports or broadcast, and then to the Singapore-based affiliate of an Indian company, Multi Screen Media, which runs Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and SET Max.
“The probe established that the Singapore-based firm paid Rs 425 crore as facilitation fee to the Mauritius-based firm to relinquish its media rights. In reality, the Mauritius-based firm had no such agreement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and consequently had no right over the media contract,” said a source familiar with the inquiry.
The Multi Screen Media spokesperson was unavailable for comment when Hindustan Times contacted the company. Modi’s Mumbai-based legal counsel Mehmood Abdi declined comment, too.
The ED is expected to soon send a letter rogatory each to Singapore and Mauritius and dispatch teams for further investigation.
“The focus of the probe is to examine allegations that Lalit Modi got a huge cut from the payment made by the Singapore-based firm to the one in Mauritius,” an official said.
“The ED will soon send letters rogatory to a few other countries, including tax havens, to verify if some firms had fronted in the transactions for the alleged beneficiary.”
The case gained prominence again after the Congress alleged that Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj helped Lalit Modi get UK immigration and travel papers when there are investigations pending against him.
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