Lalit Modi may face music

Murky tale: Govt moves fast to dispel charges of favouritism

Lalit Modi may face music

After staunchly defending External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the government is now planning a crackdown on disgraced IPL former chief Lalit Modi to redeem its position and shrug off charges of “favouritism” levelled by the Opposition.

The Centre is facing a double blow after Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was also sucked into the controversy on Tuesday.

The government is now trying to revive over a dozen cases the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had registered against Modi when he was the IPL commissioner.

Modi left the country in 2010 after the BCCI imposed a ban and accused him of siphoning money earned through T20 tournaments. The UPA government had revoked Modi’s passport which he got back after a Delhi High Court order last August.  
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is awaiting word from the Finance Ministry, which controls the ED, for moving the Supreme Court (SC) against the Delhi High Court order revoking cancellation of Modi’s passport.

The MEA on Wednesday maintained that it was up to the ED to decide whether an appeal should be filed in the SC. Sources in the MEA said the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai, had revoked Modi’s passport in March 2011 on ED’s request.

With the Congress stepping up its offensive against the Centre, top BJP leaders conceded that charges against the former IPL commissioner were of a serious nature.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram convened a press conference in Chennai to put pressure on the Centre to ensure that Modi is brought back to the country to face legal action.

Chidambaram had written to the British government not to provide Modi with travel papers as it would jeopardise the bilateral relations between the two nations. The restriction imposed by Chidambaram during the UPA regime was lifted by Sushma.

The Congress also demanded Raje’s resignation over allegations that she had offered secret testimony in 2011 backing Modi’s immigration application to the UK. Raje’s problems mounted with fresh reports that Modi had invested Rs 11.63 crore in 2008 in a firm owned by her son Dushyant Singh, who is an MP.

Telecom Minister Ravishankar Prasad, however, said: “As far as impropriety allegation is concerned, I don’t buy that logic. It was just a case of compassionate intervention for a humanitarian cause. That’s all.”

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