NEW DELHI: Lalitgate is now moving away from virtual world with the Enforcement Directorate invoking the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) along with IPC Sections 420 and 120 B to further investigate the BCCI-World Sports Group-Multi Screen Media rights contract, which the agency alleges was inked in an unauthorised manner.
In February 2015, the ED issued showcause notices under provisions about forex violations to former BCCI chief N Srinivasan, ex-IPL boss Lalit Modi, IPL COO Sundar Raman, MSM CEO Manjit Singh, BCCI, Multi Screen Media (MSM-Singapore, a division of Sony) and World Sports Group, Mauritius. The ED alleged that the payment of a `425-crore fee by MSM to WSG was under the garb of a facilitation fee and had noted Lalit as a suspected beneficiary of `125 crore out of the amount.
For ED sleuths, who are in the process of collecting evidence from Singapore and Mauritius through Letters Rogatory, it will be a monumental task since the decisions related to the IPL were finally inked by a governing council and this particular contract agreement of 2008 between BCCI and WSG was one of the several decisions where the ED had unearthed forex violations.
“All those named in the first FIR in 2012 as well as others issued showcause notices after the FEMA probe will be investigated further. The case is already under the adjudication process, sbut with the serious section slapped against accused, the agency can identify and move to attach the properties if required,” an ED officer said. As per Section 4 of PMLA, “whoever commits the offence of money laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.” However, agency officials said the case was still weak as far as Lalit’s extradition was concerned as there were several gaps in the evidence collected in the case. This may not stand court scrutiny in the UK, where Modi is staying after he left India in 2010.
Meanwhile, Lalit dared the ED officials to book others too and not selectively target him in the cases.
“My query to the ED: DO you have the courage to call BJP’s #ArunJaitley or #RajeevShukla from INC-Congress even today?” he tweeted.
He made a remark on a FEMA case related to moving the IPL to South Africa. Even though ED notices were also issued to Shashank Manohar, N Srinivasan, M P Pandove, Ratnakar Shetty, Prasanna Kannan and Sundar Raman but only his passport was revoked, he said.
“Out of 8 noticees, I was the only one SINGLED OUT! Only my passport was revoked. Why just me? Out of 8 noticees, only 1 person wrongly portrayed as an economic offender. What about other 8 noticees?” he said in a series of tweets while making public all ED showcause notices.