Indian security agencies may be pursuing former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi, now in London, but they are yet to submit a formal extradition request to the External Affairs Ministry.
The ministry admitted to IANS in response to an RTI query that it was yet to get a formal extradition request without which it cannot make any request to the United Kingdom to send Lalit Modi back to India.
“The ministry is yet to receive a formal extradition request in respect of Lalit Modi from the concerned investigating agency in India,” said the April 11 reply to the Right to Information query.
A later April 28 RTI reply from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which got a communication from the External Affairs Ministry, said it was not bound by RTI rules to reveal any information.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is pursuing 17 cases of alleged financial impropriety against Modi and other former office-bearers of the Board of Control for Cricket In India-Indian Premier League (BCCI-IPL) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The amount involved is said to be a whopping Rs 2,200 crore.
Modi left India in 2010 following alleged financial irregularities in the cash-rich Indian Premier League’s 2009 season.
Asked about the delay in sending extradition request to the UK, an ED official said: “Before sending extradition request against the fugitive, it is necessary to file a chargesheet against him; that is yet to be submitted in court.”
In the past six years, the Tamil Nadu Police in Chennai have not completed the investigations and, therefore, no chargesheet has been filed against Modi.
Despite a special Mumbai court’s April 2016 order to the ED to expedite Modi’s extradition process, the agency has not submitted evidences to Interpol to enable it to issue a Red Corner Notice against him.
In March, Interpol declined a “premature” Indian request for a Red Corner Notice to seek his arrest and extradition as a probe against him in India hadn’t concluded.
Interpol said a Red Corner Notice could be issued against an individual “only when sufficient judicial data is provided” with summary of facts and “a clear description of the criminal activities of the wanted person with time and location of the activity and charges”.
In Modi’s case, Interpol said, no charges have been established as yet.
The CBI, the Indian nodal agency for Interpol, on August 20, 2015, forwarded the ED’s request to Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against Modi.
Interpol authorities have sought additional information from the ED on their money laundering case against Modi as part of the process to issue such a global warrant against him.
The ED registered the case against Modi in December 2012 on the basis of a complaint filed by former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan with Chennai police in October 2010, alleging Modi and others embezzled money in the award of BCCI-IPL cricketing media rights in 2009.
Modi, now banned for life by the Indian cricket board for alleged corruption and misuse of power, was once a powerful man in the BCCI. He founded of IPL — the franchise-based T20 league involving domestic and foreign players. IPL matches were formally launched in 2008.
(Sidhartha Dutta can be reached at email@example.com)