A Mumbai court on Wednesday issued a non-bailable warrant against Lalit Modi former commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in an ongoing money laundering investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The special court was hearing a petition filed by ED seeking a non-bailable warrant against Modi, in connection with a criminal investigation. The agency had moved court on July 27 after Modi failed to respond to summons issued ED in a case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or PMLA.
Sessions court judge PR Bhavake said it is a fit case to issue warrant as Modi has not co-operated with the agency despite being summoned three times for the investigation.
The non-bailable warrant will now pave the way for ED to issue a red corner notice against Modi as he is based out of UK.
The court on Wednesday also observed that, Modi has not responded to summons in two old cases under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
On July 3, the enforcement agency summoned Modi and directed him to appear in person before the ED within 15 days. The deadline for personal appearance expired on July 19.
The ED summons were first served to Modi through his Mumbai solicitors, Wadia Ghandy & Co on 3 July. However, the law firm returned it to ED saying that it was not authorised to receive the summons.
The enforcement agency on July 7 sent the summons to Modi through email. Later the agency pasted the summons at Modi’s last known office address at Worli in Mumbai. But Modi has maintained that he has not received any summons from ED.
ED in court contended that Modi is a “potential accused” and under the law a designated court has the power to issue a non-bailable warrant for the purpose of investigation.
The PMLA case against Modi is based on a criminal complaint filed by the BCCI in 2010, accusing him of misappropriation of funds during his tenure as IPL chief.
The ED has sought details from Modi on his role in the deal between World Sports Group, Mauritius and Multi Screen Media Singapore (MSMS). According to the ED petition, in 2008, BCCI awarded 10-year media rights to WSG India for $ 642 million and MSMS for $276 million for certain geographies.
In March 2009, Modi terminated the contract with MSMS for violating some rules and signed a fresh agreement with WSG Mauritius without following any tender process.
The deal was for Rs 4792 crore for 9 years. Later that month, BCCI entered into contracts with MSMS under which the latter would pay the cricket body Rs 3949 crore for match broadcast right. MSMS also signed a contract with WSG Mauritius for a Rs 425 crore facilitation fee, which the BCCI later claimed should come to it.
According to ED, Modi “was not authorized to terminate the media rights contract with …MSMS.” He also didn’t follow any tender process or obtain approval from the IPL governing council for signing the deal with WSG Mauritius.
The ED’s petition also said Modi caused loss of crores of rupees in a transaction where he was appointed “without any written contract and without following any tender process” for exploiting the time between deliveries for ad rights. It also said the BCCI was cheated of Rs 3.5 crore by the manner in which Modi hired some security apparatus.