Chennai: Accused of dragging its feet over the Rs 470 crore Lalit Modi cheating case for close to seven years, the Tamil Nadu police has decided to pass the buck. The state cops are now handing over the case to the police in Mumbai, which has jurisdiction as the BCCI headquarters are situated in that city.
“The case was transferred from Chennai police to CBCID in April,” a senior police disclosed to this newspaper.
The case was not just a big fight between two leading personalities of Indian cricket — Chennai-based N. Srinivasan who was then the BCCI Secretary and Lalit Modi, who was the IPl Commissioner then and who now resides in UK. The charges pertain to `470 crore that the former cricket czar helped himself to that money illegally by coercing the game’s broadcasters.
Home ministry, which is supposed to be in charge of pursuing cases against fugitives like Modi, is miffed that the lethargy of the Chennai Police in not even framing charges against the accused may have led to Interpol not issuing a red corner notice against the cricket official. Interpol has not issued a notice against Modi despite repeated requests from Enforcement Directorate.
The case relates to Modi allegedly receiving a huge kickback in the form of diverting funds by cleverly switching TV rights contracts, cheating, criminal misappropriation, falsification of documents etc.
The Chennai police hardly moved in the case as they were said to have had several officials handling the sensitive matter.
“But we have now only started trying to do something which is why the case was handed over to C-CID in April. The transfer of the case to CB-CID happened because it is the nodal agency for all Interpol cases. But now we have decided to give it to Mumbai police,” the officer added.
“Several witnesses were examined and voluminous incriminating documents seized were scrutinised by the CCB of Chennai police. It is a case with inter-state and international ramifications. The process of collection of documents and examination of witnesses abroad is not always that easy in our country,” an officer disclosed.
It may be recalled that when Srinivasan lodged the complaint in October 2010 during the DMK regime, the then police commissioner had said that some of records given by BCCI were very complicated. The city police chief had also said that there were technical issues to be addressed, besides pointing out that the case was of a different dimension altogether. “These are big players, some agencies involved are in foreign countries. The case is a big challenge to us,” he had said then.
However, it is clear that the distinct lack of action has allowed Modi to escape the clutches of the law not only in India but in the UK too.
What is the case against Modi?
The case was registered on October 13, 2010 by Chennai police based on a complaint of misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs.470 crore under various heads including media rights and free commercial rights by the then suspended IPL chief Modi. The complainant was the then BCCI secretary N.Srinivasan.
Police registered a case against Modi and six others under different sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and falsification of accounts. However, there has been no charge sheet in the case so far. The case was transferred to state CB-CID in April this year. Now the TN police have decided to hand over the case to Mumbai police.
Why no red corner notice from Interpol?
Apart from Chennai police, ED had also registered cases of financial irregularities against Lalit Modi. Interpol has been refusing to issue a red corner look out notice (RCN) against Lalit Modi based on ED’s request since 2015.
ED was expecting Chennai cops to finish their probe and file a charge-sheet. But it never happened. As recently as in March, Interpol again told ED that it would not issue RCN against Modi. The ED had submitted records of FIR, statements of other accused and other details to the Interpol multiple times in order to underline the importance of getting an RCN against Modi.
The non availability of a charge-sheet has been cited as a reason for not notifying the RCN against Lalit Modi....