Modi’s plea against passport revocation turned down

November 4th, 2011 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Suspended Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi’s appeal challenging revocation of his passport has been turned down by the Chief Passport Office (CPO) here.

The regional passport office in Mumbai had revoked Modi’s passport on March 3 this year following the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) probe into financial irregularities.

Dismissing the appeal filed by Modi in April this year, Joint secretary Muktesh K. Pardeshi said: “The Enforcement Directorate, being an arm of the government and the designated agency to go into the question of violation of the provision of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA), is competent to make recommendation to the passport issuing authority to revoke the passport of an individual on the basis of investigation conducted by that agency.”

“Mumbai passport office order has not violated any principle of natural justice because appellant (Lalit Modi) was informed of the proposed action and was given sufficient and even additional time to explain his side,” observed Pardeshi in his Oct 31 order.

Meanwhile, the CPO has also pointed out that the authority investigating the case has reason to believe that Modi, in his capacity as IPL chairman and commissioner, has committed gross irregularities in the conduct of the IPL tournament and in the award of various contracts by the BCCI with various parties in India and abroad.

“Through his fraudulent acts, Modi appears to have committed contravention of the provision of the FEMA to the extent of hundreds of crores of rupees and also appears to have gained personal benefits by acquiring huge amount of money which is suspected to have parked outside India in contravention of the provision of FEMA,” said the joint secretary.

Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court Friday allowed Modi to withdraw his plea seeking speedy disposal of the matter of the revocation of his passport by the Mumbai passport office.

Modi’s counsel told Justice Vipin Sanghi that his client wanted to withdraw the petition as the appellate authority in the ministry of external affairs had already passed its order Oct 31, which was received by them Thursday.

The judge allowed Modi to withdraw the petition in which he had sought an expeditious decision by the authority hearing his appeal. The passport had been revoked for alleged foreign exchange violations.

Modi, presently in London, had moved the high court Nov 2.

His counsel had said earlier that Modi’s plea had been pending before the authority since August this year and no order had been passed yet so the court must hear it expeditiously.

Justifying the ED stand to bring Modi back to India, the ministry appellant authority also said that Modi needs to be investigated physically as he is to be confronted with number of documents and his evidence is required to be recorded on many issues which is not possible through video-conferencing.

Declining Modi’s submission that he has threat to his life, the CPO said: “The police authorities have all along offered protection to Modi, when he was in India as he was never prevented from attending day-to-day function which involved his presence in huge public gathering.”

“In these circumstances, his refusal to make himself available in India for personal interrogation by the investigating authorities on the alleged lack of adequate protection in India can only be construed as an action intended to avoid the process of law and non-compliance of a legal process,” said Pardeshi in his order.

“In the instant case, the passport is still in the custody of the appellant. It was not surrendered to the passport impounding authority and hence revocation was resorted to by the regional passport office, Mumbai,” said the CPO, adding that the appeal is not allowed.

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