ED to seek information from Singapore, Mauritius

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has decided to seek information from Singapore and Mauritius in connection with the probe against former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

The case relates to the irregularities in granting of IPL media rights and suspicion that Modi was a suspect beneficiary of Rs 125 crore paid by Singapore-based Multi Screen Media (Sony) to World Sports Group Mauritius as facilitation fees for acquiring the rights.

Sources said the ED has approached a court to obtain Letters Rogatory to be sent to Singapore and Mauritius where these companies are based.

An ED team is already in Singapore for investigating a separate money laundering case but they may also gather some information regarding the IPL case, in which Modi, then BCCI functionaries like N Srinivasan and others, were issued show-cause notice.

While accusing Modi of sending suspect emails to media companies, which the ED sees as a ploy to help WSG, the investigators have found fault with BCCI officials for assuring payment of Rs 425 crore to WSG in case Sony refused to pay the agreed facilitation fee.

The money laundering case was filed by former BCCI chief Srinivasan with the Chennai Police in 2010 against Modi and others. The ED registered its own criminal case under PMLA early this year.

The ED may also notify an Interpol Red Corner notice against Modi, who left for UK five years ago, to make him join investigations.

In 2008, BCCI awarded IPL media rights to WSG for 10 years on payment of $ 918 million and WSG entered into a deal with MSM to make Sony the official broadcaster in the sub-continent.

BCCI terminated the contract with Sony in March 2009 on payment related issues. Sony had refused to pay extra due to drop in TAM rating, while BCCI found that the broadcasted telecast advertisement beyond permissible limit. The negotiations started and in 10 days a new agreement was signed with WSG Mauritius.

However, ED claimed that Modi sent emails to broadcasters two days before the agreement was signed with WSG Mauritius saying the telecast rights have been assigned to them. This “created an impression that by virtue of the purported agreement on March 23, 2009, the rights vested with WSG Mauritius.

In perspective it is apparent that WSG Mauritius was brought into play just to park the rights with them and the aforesaid email was calculated to press a panic button for forcing MSM to fork out a huge amount as consideration over and above the rights fee that was to be paid under the media rights agreement,” the show-cause notice stated.

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