India: ED may slap 'red alert' on Lalit Modi
Publicado el Oct 14, 2010
Financial Times.- More trouble is in store for IPL founder Lalit Modi as investigative agencies are moving to bring charges against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), a law that allows criminal charges to be pressed. The law can also seek an individual’s extradition from a foreign country.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), the investigative arm of the finance ministry, is likely to file a criminal case against Mr Modi under the PMLA, an ED official said.
On Wednesday, the BCCI filed a separate criminal case against Mr Modi in Chennai, for misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 470 crore. PMLA is far more stringent than the Foreign Exchange Violations Act (Fema) that was being pressed against Mr Modi so far.
The investigative agencies are irked that Mr Modi has been repeatedly evading its summons, and issuing press statements that they could send officers to London (where he is currently based) if they wish to interrogate him. If the ED moves to press charges under PMLA, the ‘light blue alert’ that the agency has issued against Mr Modi could be upgraded into a ‘red alert’. Such an action could mean that Mr Modi’s passport would be revoked and investigative agencies can push for his extradition, the official said.
PMLA also allows the agencies a greater degree of access to information from a number of tax havens under various international treaties. The official said that, prima facie, the agency considers the statements given by Mr Modi’s attorneys about his interests in Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab , the two teams that the BCCI axed from the IPL last week, to be false.
“Prima facie, we have reason to believe that Mr Lalit Modi concealed his interests in the two teams that have been scrapped by the BCCI. His statements were misleading and the investigations done so far have revealed that he has misrepresented several facts. This is a criminal case and we are also going to write to the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the BCCI to lodge criminal complaints against him,” the ED official said.
He asked not to be named as he is not authorised to speak with the media. Earlier this month, the Enforcement Directorate issued a ‘light blue alert’ for Mr Modi stating that he “fraudulently acquired substantial foreign exchange outside India by misusing his position as chairman, IPL”.
The ED also stated that Mr Modi is stalling investigations by not responding to the ED summons and is suspected of contraventions involving foreign exchange equivalent to hundreds of crores. Modi and his attorney did not respond to an email requesting comment.