Bombay HC grants permission to Lalit Modi’s attorney to interrogate senior BCCI officials

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Bombay HC grants permission to Lalit Modi’s attorney to interrogate senior BCCI officials

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SportsCafe Desk

02/02/2018

The attorney of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has been given the go-ahead to cross-examine senior BCCI officials in the ongoing FEMA. Bombay HC gave the order as it felt that not allowing Modi to cross-examine the witnesses who made the statements was a violation of the principles of justice.

In 2013, the Enforcement Directorate began proceedings against former IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regarding a bank account opened by the BCCI and IPL authorities in South Africa ahead of the 2009 edition of the IPL. The ED claimed that USD five crore was transferred to that particular bank account which was in direct violation of the FEMA guidelines.

Thereafter a petition was filed by Modi and his legal team that argued, that he had been denied the right to cross-examine the witnesses who have recorded statement’s against him in the case. 

Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, who fought the case behalf of Lalit Modi, stated before the court, that the ED recorded the statements of seven witnesses, including senior BCCI officials, against Modi, but did not allow him to cross-examine them. He further added that not granting him permission to cross-examine witnesses was a direct violation of Modi’s fundamental rights.

The Bombay HC, after hearing the arguments on behalf of Chinoy, inquired from additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who appeared for the ED, the reason behind the unfortunate delay which led to the case being dragged on for so long.

“This issue is pending for long. What is the point? The larger public interest is to defeat foreign exchange violations. Looking at the serious allegations, we feel IPL is no more a clean entertainment,” Justice Dharmadhikari said, reported PTI.

“Young cricketers just want to play in IPL and earn Rs five to ten crore in one tournament and not play for the country."

Mohammed Abdi, the attorney of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said in an interview to ESPNCricinfo, "The court has decided a schedule for cross-examination. So, we will cross-examine one by one all the witnesses and all those whose statements have been relied by the ED and the showcause notice issued to Mr Lalit Modi.

"Because, all the accusations have been framed on the basis of their witnesses. And, rather than witnesses they are statements. We have every right to cross-examine them and we have been taking applications to the Enforcement Directorate from time to time which were not allowed. So, as a last resort, we had to move the Bombay High Court. We are very happy to have been given this relief. Now we will go ahead." Abdi added.

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