In­dian court is­sues ar­rest war­rant for ex-IPL chief


A spe­cial court in In­dia is­sued an ar­rest war­rant on Wed­nes­day for ex­iled for­mer cricket boss Lalit Modi over al­le­ga­tions of money laun­der­ing linked to a lu­cra­tive tele­vi­sion deal, an of­fi­cial said. The court in the fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal Mum­bai granted the non-bail­able war­rant af­ter ex-In­dian Premier League chair­man Modi failed to an­swer a sum­mons or­der­ing his re­turn from Lon­don to face cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

A se­nior En­force­ment Di­rec­torate of­fi­cer con­firmed to AFP via text mes­sage that the war­rant had been is­sued by the court, which hears money laun­der­ing cases.

"Yes, we have re­ceived the war­rant for Lalit Modi's ar­rest," the of­fi­cial from In­dia's fi­nan­cial crimes in­ves­ti­gat­ing agency, said on con­di­tion of anonymity. Modi was in­stru­men­tal in found­ing and over­see­ing the money-spin­ning Twenty20 IPL in 2008 be­fore flee­ing to Lon­don two years later when tax and fi­nan­cial crime author­i­ties raided his premises. En­force­ment Di­rec­torate of­fi­cers want to speak to him 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 INR 4.25 bil­lion ru­pees ($67 mil­lion) to the Mau­ri­tius arm of World Sports Group (WSG) as part of a con­tract for tak­ing over broad­cast rights to 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 then IPL chair­man.

Modi has more re­cently been em­broiled in con­tro­versy with For­eign Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj who is un­der pres­sure to re­sign over her role in help­ing him gain a pass­port in Bri­tain.

Modi was re­moved as chair­man 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. Since its launch, the IPL has been mired in a se­ries of cor­rup­tion and bet­ting scan­dals in cricket-lov­ing In­dia. Last month, a Supreme Court-ap­pointed panel sus­pended two of the IPL's eight teams af­ter of­fi­cials were found guilty of il­le­gally bet­ting on matches.

In­ter­na­tional news or­gan­i­sa­tions have sus­pended on-field cov­er­age of matches hosted by the BCCI since 2012 af­ter the board im­posed re­stric­tions on pic­ture agen­cies.

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