SC ex-judges, Mumbai top cop, journo helped Modi stay in UK

SC ex-judges, Mumbai top cop, journo helped Modi stay in UK

Three Supreme Court former judges, a Mumbai Police ex-chief and a senior editor had endorsed IPL ex-chief Lalit Modi's plea and helped him stay on in London after his multiple-entry visitors' visa expired some time in 2012.

This was after his passport was revoked by the Congress-led government, which was then in power, after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) wanted him to present himself for investigation into cases of money-laundering.

According to documents shown on news channels on Friday night, Justice S B Sinha, Justice Jeevan Reddy and late Justice U C Banerjee provided legal opinion for Lalit Modi while Mumbai Police ex-chief R D Tyagi stood witness for him along with journalist Prabhu Chawla, backing his asylum plea in the UK.

Papers accessed by India Today and NDTV showed Law Commission ex-chairman Justice Jeevan Reddy and SC ex-judge Justice S B Sinha supported Modi's claim of residency in the UK. 

Late Justice U C Banerjee tacitly supported extension of Modi's stay in Britain after his visa expired in March 2012.

This was before the Delhi High Court restored Modi's passport. He has said he cannot return to India for interrogation because of death threats from the underworld.

Justices Reddy and Sinha supplied legal opinion for Modi's team, saying the ED was guilty of over-reach in “insisting upon the physical presence” of Modi, who had offered to appear to answer charges of corruption via video-conference.

Justice Sinha observed: “The Regional Passport Office (RPO) ought not have considered allegations of irregularities in IPL when Modi was chairman while impounding his passport since this is beyond the jurisdiction of the RPO or the ED.”

Justice Reddy said in his opinion in October 2013: “Since Modi had made himself available for video-conferencing, the ED has no power to insist on his physical presence before them.”

Justice Banerjee was even more explicit in saying: “The fact is there is no charge against him, the fact is there is no conviction. Even the allegations against him do not appear serious. (However) There appears to be a serious and credible threat to his life and security.”

Reacting to the disclosure, Justice Reddy said: “Legal opinion was sought and legal opinion was given. That's the end of the matter, and nothing further.”

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