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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Enforcement Directorate issues 'Blue Alert' on Lalit Modi

Enforcement Directorate issues 'Blue Alert' on Lalit Modi

Last updated on: October 08, 2010 00:50 IST

The Enforcement Directorate has issued an international Blue Notice Alert for detention of former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi for alleged "serious contraventions" of the foreign exchange law after its probe into the finances of the T20 cricket tournaments.

The "Light Blue Alert Notice" issued by the Mumbai office of the ED earlier this month has asked law enforcement agencies across the globe that Modi "should be detained as and when noticed" and the agency be "informed immediately".

The notice, which is issued with the concurrence of the Interpol, bears Modi's photograph and passport number besides other details.

The ED has said that Modi "has been allegedly involved in serious contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, in connection with the IPL".

The notice adds that 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. He has not appeared for his examinations under Summon issued to him.

"By non-compliance of the summon, he is stalling the investigations being conducted by the ED," the notice reads.

The notice -- an international alert to law enforcement agencies to obtain information about a person's identity and activities -- aims to gather further information about Modi's whereabouts and his activities which are not known to the agency as he is abroad, sources said.

Once such an alert is issued against an individual by a law enforcement agency in India, sleuths of the counterpart agency in any foreign land can intercept and question the person who has been flagged, they said.

A statement from Modi's office said he has always cooperated with the Enforcement Directorate and ready to appear before the agency personally in London or through video conferencing.

"No show cause notice alleging any irregularities regarding Foreign Exchange has been served on Modi till date.

"The Enforcement Directorate had addressed communications to Modi to present himself with documents. He has always co-operated with the department. He has furnished the Enforcement Directorate with copies of all required documents which were available with him. He had also informed the Enforcement Directorate that he had been advised not to

travel to India on account of an elevated threat perception to

his life and had given particulars of the same.

"He had also offered to answer all queries, requisitions in writing as also respond to any questions by video conferencing or by appearing before the officers of the Enforcement Directorate in London," read the statement.

It added: "Modi strongly denies the suggestions that he is not cooperating with the authorities or avoiding any enquiry or investigation. The issuance of such a blue corner notice, if any, is therefore uncalled for and unfortunate."

The statement added: "Neither Modi nor his solicitors or his constituted attorney (who have been corresponding with the Enforcement

Directorate and appearing before them) have been served with any copy of Blue Corner Notice.

"A Blue Corner Notice is a notice issued to ascertain information about identity and location of a person. In the case of Modi there is no doubt about his identity.

"He is residing in London, a fact which is also known to the Enforcement Directorate. No such Blue Corner Notice, in the case of Modi, could or ought to have therefore been issued."

Meanwhile, Modi's counsel Mehmood Abidi has termed the issuance of notice as an "extreme step" which is taken for "hardened criminals" and questioned the need for it.

"Mr Modi has been cooperating with the Enforcement Directorate authorities. All the summons which have been issued have been duly and properly replied. All the documents which have been called for have been provided," he said.

On the issue of personal appearance of Modi before the ED officials, Abidi said that former Commissioner of IPL did not come to India because of "grave security concerns".

"He has offered himself for questioning or interrogation, whatever you call it, by way of video-conferencing and he has even offered to go to Indian High Commission in London before designated authority for questioning. Where was the need of such an extreme step?," he asked.

The ED is probing alleged violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against various IPL franchises. The objective of a Blue Notice, according to the Interpol, is "to collect additional information about a person's identity or activities in relation to a crime".

Modi, who was suspended as IPL chairman by the BCCI in April, is facing 22 charges ranging from financial irregularities to rigging bids, proxy holdings and kickbacks in broadcast deals.

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