Bombay High Court seeks ED’s response on Lalit Modi’s plea to examine Srinivasan

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file a reply in response to a petition filed by former Indian Premiere League (IPL) boss Lalit Modi. He has sought permission to cross examine former BCCI chief N Srinivasan and several others in the connection with the Rs. 425 crore scam of the 2008 IPL telecast rights case.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla heard a writ petition filed by Modi, who has challenged the orders of a special court that denied him permission to cross examine N Srinivasan and others in the case. Additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil Singh appearing for the ED, told the judges that the agency opposes Modi’s plea since he is already facing a non-bailable warrant against him. Singh also said that instead of seeking permission, Modi should instead appear before the agency and the concerned court.

On the other hand, Modi’s counsel argued that merely because his client faces a warrant, that should not deprive him from cross examining a witness in the trial. Agreeing with Modi’s contention, the judges have asked the ED to file its reply and have posted the matter for further hearing after eight weeks.

The case pertains to the deal between World Sports Group (WSG) and Multi Screen Media (MSM) for television rights of IPL, worth Rs 425 crores. In 2008, BCCI had awarded IPL media rights for ten years to WSG for USD 918 million. WSG entered into a deal with MSM to make Sony (a channel owned by MSM) the official broadcaster. The contract was replaced a year later with a nine-year deal. The ED is probing the 80 million-dollar amount paid by MSM to WSG as facilitation fees to withdraw from the telecast rights contract.

It may be recalled that the BCCI had in 2010, lodged an FIR in Chennai against Modi under various sections of IPC, subsequently, ED registered a case under PMLA regarding the deal in 2012.

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