By Anjali Bisht, Law College Dehradun.
I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that Lalit Modi and controversies go hand in hand. One after another the name has attracted a number of controversies and the year 2015 is no different. The former Indian Premier League Commissioner has been battling with allegations throughout his career and his current issue has taken the BJP government under its ambit. More than two dozen cases of financial irregularities, money laundering and criminal cases have been filed against Mr Lalit Modi by various investigative agencies in the country. The man also tried fleeing to another country, but his visa was cancelled. Once awarded the Second Most Powerful Person in Indian Sports, he has now become the most sought after alleged criminal facing money laundering charges.
Lalit Modi is facing a number of charges and court cases in India but a foreign exchange violation allegation has led to the revocation of his passport and eventually has led to the present controversy involving External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj. Not just one or two but 22 accusations have been framed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against him, due to which Modi was suspended from the post of Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League in 2010 and in the same year in October he fled the country.
The Enforcement Directorate (referred to as ED hereafter) began investigating the foreign exchange violation charge. When Modi kept evading its summons, the agency got the government to revoke his passport in March 2011. A blue-corner notice was also issued against Modi, which would allow any foreign law-enforcement agency to detain him and deport him to India to face questioning .1
Till now, the ED has issued three show cause notices sent to Lalit Modi in cases of IMG (International management Group), Cricket South Africa and Performance Deposit issue.
The show cause notices are –
1) Lalit Modi, BCCI and few other officials appeared to have contravened the provisions of FEMA, 1999 to the extent of Rs 89 crores.
In reply to this show cause notice, Lalit Modi has put all the blame on N Srinivasan. Modi has said, “At the time of formation of IPL, N Srinivasan was the Treasurer of BCCI. Since IPL was not a separate entity but only a sub-committee of the BCCI, all decisions in respect of IPL which had any financial implications or required drawing or disbursing of any funds of providing any guarantees or decisions which required financial compliances including RBI approvals were taken by N Srinivasan.”
2) In another case, ED has issued show cause notice against Lalit Modi, BCCI, N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah under FEMA – FOR accepting A deposit of Rs 20 crores from Emerging Media (IPL) based in UK.
3) Third show cause notice to Lalit Modi, BCCI, Shashank Manohar and other BCCI officials was for the payment of Rs 243 crores made by BCCI to Cricket South Africa for IPL 2009.
The copy of payment details with India Today show financial transactions of Rs 243 crores made through State Bank of Travancore, Jaipur, and forwarded by N Srinivasan but guided and managed by Lalit Kumar Modi.
ED in its show cause notice said, “Although the agreement dated 30/03/2009 was signed by N Srinivasan, Lalit Modi had actively participated in the meetings with Cricket South Africa and played a major role in drafting of the agreement. The MoUs/Agreements are found to be in contravention of the provisions of FEMA. Further, Lalit Modi has signed an appointment letter for and on behalf of IPL South Africa appointing Ireland Davenport as an agent of IPL South Africa. This proves the IPL SA Pty Ltd was nothing but a front created for the purposes of opening a bank account to be operated and maintained by the BCCI on behalf of Lalit Modi for signing documents.”
Others cases against Lalit Modi are:
1) ED probing the $80 million amount paid by Multi Screen Media (MSM) to World Sports Group (WSG) as facilitation fees to withdraw from the telecast rights contract.
2) ED probing whether $25 million of the $80 million paid by MSM to WSG was routed into the illegal accounts of Lalit Modi, his associates and political beneficiaries.
3) ED probing Lalit Modi having an allegation that he had told selective bidders how much to bid and win during the first IPL team auction in 2008. The difference in bid amounts of the winner Rajasthan Royals and loser was $300,000.
4) ED probing whether Lalit Modi has used illegal money to buy his corporate jet through a Cayman Islands Company.
5) ED is probing Ramesh Govani who owns the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai where Lalit Modi routinely stayed.
6) ED is probing the investment of Rs 10 crores made by Lalit Modi’s wife in an Indian heritage hotel through a Mauritius-based company.
7) Some cases related to FEMA violations, such as ownership of IPL franchisee, nature of foreign investments and valuation of shares and transfers thereof in respect of some franchisees are under ED probe.
In an Action Taken Report (ATR) filed before the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance, the government said last December 2014, that the ED has already issued show cause notices involving an amount of Rs 2,148.3 crores of contravention of provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) against Lalit Modi, BCCI officials and other private companies.
Other than Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax department had sent a notice to Lalit Modi dated 16/09/2010 stating that the department is in possession of information through AIR that Modi has entered into high value financial transactions during the financial year 2008-09 without quoting his PAN number. Under IT Rules – quoting of PAN is mandatory.
In addition, the Mumbai zonal unit of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had sent summons to Lalit Modi dated 04/11/2010, in connection with import of aircraft by M/s Golden Wings Pvt Ltd., in which Lalit Modi was supposed to give evidence and produce documents in a related case.
So, not only ED officials, but even the Income Tax Department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Passport Office and Police Officials of a few cities are awaiting a meeting with Lalit Modi.
THE CONSENT ISSUE –
Lalit Modi kept on insisting that he needed to go to Portugal to sign the papers of his wife’s surgery who is a cancer patient. External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj said she took an ‘humanitarian view’ because of this reason. However, allegations started growing when europatientrights.eu, a website describing patients’ rights, suggests that in Portugal, consent, while required prior to treatment or surgery, can be given by the patient, unless in the case of “legal incapacity”. The website, outlining patients’ rights in each member country of the EU, also says: “A written consent is not required in Portugal. The consent can be expressed through any means. A minor of 14 years of age or more can give valid consent to medical treatment if he has the ability to fully understand what is involved in the medical treatment in question.” Two surgeons familiar with consent procedures in the EU said their understanding was that patients by themselves have the right to provide consent for surgical procedures. “A medical institution would normally be expected to accept consent from the patient,” said Subash Gupta, a liver transplant surgeon in New Delhi who has earlier worked in the UK. “Consent received from patients is valid,” said Rogerio Carpallo Alphonso, a senior surgeon from Sao Paulo, Brazil, currently visiting India.The website on patients’ rights clarifies that if a person is legally incapable of providing consent, a legal representative needs to be present for the consent.3
Mr Lalit Modi has tried to portray himself as a victim of corruption in the BCCI issue, however, the ED considers him a fugitive who should come back to serve his punishment. With 22 charges lined up , it is surely going to be a tough ride for Mr Lalit Modi once he comes back to India. According to the ED he has used his wife’s surgery as a shield to protect himself from coming back to India. The controversies surrounding his named has not yet ceased and every now and then Lalit Modi’s name gets sprawled on the news. Recently, his statement about meeting BJP MP Varun Gandhi in London managed to garner the necessary hype all over the country. His job offer to Ms Sushma Swaraj’s husband also turned quite a few heads with allegations once again cornering the ruling government.
2- Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalit_Modi
3- Patient Rights in the EU europatientrights.eu