NEW DELHI:Amid the raging row over Lalit Modi’s visa, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing the alleged forex violation case, is in a bind as the probe is moving at snail’s pace.
Facing the heat, top officials of the agency on Thursday went into a huddle at the Department of Revenue Office at North Block to review the status of the probe against the former IPL chief .
Officials are understood to have also discussed Modi’s passport, which was restored by the Delhi High Court in August last year while slamming the Chief Passport Officer for violating rights of a citizen under Article 19.
“Since ED is the aggrieved party in this case, we need to take the initiative. The agency should condone the delay and file a joint appeal with Ministry of External Affairs to revoke the passport but as of now no decision has been taken on that aspect and we may seek a further legal opinion on the issue,” an officer said.
The official added that there has considerable delay since the first notice was served in August 2010 but the adjudication process as far as cases under FEMA was concerned is moving fast and may be over soon. The officer also stated that evidence received from Chennai Police is also being examined to ascertain violations under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The officer, citing the Delhi High Court ruling in Modi’s passport case, noted that the government at this stage may only move after consulting the law and external affairs ministry as revocation of Modi’s passport under the Passport Act was termed invalid. The court had stated that the RPO’s decision on March 3, 2011 to revoke the passport under the Passport Act was “not lawful.” Apart from the passport issue, the agency is also planning to speed up the probe still pending in one case related to forex violation. Sources said a direction was given to ED Mumbai office to expedite the process.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties launched a fresh offensive seeking the removal of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the row.
With the government’s image taking a knock, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to have discussed the fallout with Home Minister Rajnath Singh in his South Block office. Singh is said to have had the one-on-one meet with Modi on the sidelines of a UIDAI meeting.