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Modi won't return till threat situation alters

Last updated on: October 28, 2010 16:04 IST

Former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi perceives a threat to his life from "unwanted elements" and won't return to India till the situation improves, his lawyer said in Mumbai on Thursday.

Advocate Mehmood Abdi also said that in response to the Regional Passport Office's showcause notice to Modi as to why his passport should not be cancelled, his client has sought clarification on when the deadline for response expires.

"We have also asked the RPO what documents they have relied on while issuing the notice on October 15," Abdi said.

He said that before responding to the notice, Modi must know what was the "reference of Enforcement Directorate" to the RPO, following which notice was issued.

The notice requires that Modi files his reply within 15 days, but Abdi said that the period of 15 days should start from the date of receipt, which was October 20.

"So according to us, deadline expires on November 4. We have sent a letter to RPO seeking clarification on October 26, but there has been no reply," he said.

Asked when Modi would return to India, Abdi said, "There is threat to his life from some unwanted elements, and he will not return till the situation alters."

Abdi denied that Modi is "absconding".

"He is communicating with ED and other authorities from London," he said.

Abdi said that even today he sent a "reminder" to RPO, seeking clarification about deadline, but no response came.

Two days ago, Abdi had said that his client was ready to make himself available in London for interrogation by Enforcement Directorate and he would bear the expenses of ED personnel travelling to the British capital to question him for alleged FEMA violations by IPL franchises.

The ED has already issued a Blue Notice -- an international alert to law enforcement agencies to obtain information about a person's identity and activities -- against Modi in its probe into the finances of the Twenty20 league.

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

He is also facing an internal BCCI probe from a three-member disciplinary panel, headed by Chirayu Amin, and Arun Jaitley and Jyotiraditya Scindia the other two members.

BCCI secretary N Srinivasan has also filed a complaint with the Chennai Police earlier this month against Modi alleging criminal misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 470 crore on issues including media rights and free commercial rights.

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