Mumbai - Indian financial investigators have ordered exiled former cricket
chief Lalit Modi to return home to be interrogated over allegations of
money-laundering linked to a mega TV deal, an officer said on Tuesday.
The Enforcement Directorate has issued the summons over a case relating to a
lucrative television rights deal for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the
money-spinning Twenty20 competition that Modi effectively founded and oversaw
before he fled to London some five years ago.
"Yes, we have issued summons to Lalit Modi. He has to now appear
(before us), give the details we ask for and join in the investigation that is
going on," an Enforcement Directorate officer said on condition of
The former IPL chairperson, who is now based in Britain, would have three
weeks to present himself before investigators in India, said the official.
"If he does not show up, we will take appropriate action," he
It is the first time that the directorate has issued a formal summons
against Modi in connection with allegations that proceeds from the TV deal were
funnelled to unauthorised beneficiaries in Singapore and Mauritius.
The Multi Screen Media (MSM) of Sony Entertainment paid a facilitation fee
of $67 million to the Mauritius arm of World Sports Group (WSG) as part of a
contract for taking over the broadcast rights of the IPL.
The Enforcement Directorate is probing if part of this fee was allegedly
siphoned off to unknown individuals, at the behest of Modi who was the IPL
The directorate, which is India's top financial investigation agency, did
however issue a notice back in 2010 seeking to know his whereabouts.
When he failed to respond, Modi's passport was subsequently revoked,
although a court ruled last August that it should be restored.
Modi, who claims his life is threatened by the Mumbai mafia, fled to London
when tax and financial crime authorities raided his premises in 2010 in a money
laundering and tax evasion investigation.
He has been in the news lately after reports emerged indicating that India's
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj helped him gain emergency travel papers so that
he could accompany his wife when she underwent cancer treatment in Portugal.
Modi has since taken to Twitter to attack his opponents, including some
senior members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the main
opposition Congress party.
He was removed as IPL chairperson in 2010 and later banned for life from
holding any positions in the sport by the powerful Board of Control for Cricket
in India (BCCI).
Modi has consistently denied all accusations against him.