New Delhi: Indian investigative agencies will make a fresh bid to obtain the much-delayed Interpol arrest warrant against former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi after the Chennai Police recently submitted that it is actively pursuing its criminal probe against the former cricket czar and others.
Officials said the Investigating Officer (IO) of the Crime Branch of Chennai police has informed the Finance Ministry and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that it had registered an FIR against Modi and seven others in 2010 on charges of alleged financial irregularities on a complaint by former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N. Srinivasan which is "under investigation" and evidence is being gathered. It is likely that the IO of Chennai police would also approach a local court to seek Modi's presence in the case as being sought by the ED in its money laundering probe.
This 2010 FIR became the basis for the ED to register the 'predicate offence' of money laundering against Modi in 2012.
After registering the offence, the anti-money laundering agency had sought an international Red Corner Notice (RCN) and arrest warrant against him from the Interpol. The agencies, sources said, will make a renewed effort to make Modi join the probe being carried out by the ED and Chennai Police.
The Union government, during the recently concluded Parliament session, had said it was awaiting an investigation status report from Chennai Police in order to respond to queries raised by the Interpol in connection with the money laundering case against Modi. Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha had, while replying to a question related to ED's request to Interpol for issue of the RCN against Modi, said "certain queries were raised by the Commission for the Control of Interpol Files".
"Further, a letter to the predicate agency (Chennai Police) has been sent for obtaining investigation status of the scheduled offence. The reply from predicate agency is awaited for responding to the queries raised by the Commission for the Control of Interpol Files," he had said in a written reply.
The ED headquarters here too has been regularly writing to the Chennai and Tamil Nadu Police brass seeking the status of the case and expediting the probe being conducted by them. Officials said after a request to extradite Modi from the United Kingdom was recently sent to the Ministry of External Affairs by the ED, a similar effort will be made before the Interpol, through the CBI, to get the long-awaited RCN notified. The ED had first approached Interpol in August last year for notifying an RCN against Modi but it kept delaying acting on the request with a string of queries from Indian investigators regarding the need for a red corner notice, with the latest being seeking status of the probe being conducted by the Chennai Police.
The ED wants Modi to join investigation in a case relating to T-20 Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament after it registered an FIR against him and others in 2012. The central agency has invoked PMLA besides sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC to probe if BCCI-IPL and the exchequer had been cheated in the award of telecast rights for the T-20 tournament in 2009. Modi has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.