A day after the Mumbai Police Chief, Rakesh Maria, submitted his detailed response on his meeting with the former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi in London last year, the report is still to reach Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who will take the final decision on the next course of action.
The report is currently with the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) KP Bakshi who is expected to submit the report with his opinions/remarks to the Chief Minister by evening.
“It is a sensitive issue and I am still studying the report. It will be submitted to the CM who will take the final call,” Bakshi told reporters.
Sources say the State Home Department is not completely satisfied with Maria’s submission and wants him to share the details of the lawyer who approached and insisted Maria to meet Modi in London.
When contacted Mehmood Abdi, Modi’s counsel, claims he wasn’t the lawyer in question but refused to comment further. “I was not the lawyer. I don’t know and I don’t want to comment,”Abdi told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile Maria along with a few senior IPS officers met Fadnavis on Monday night to discuss issues related to police housing. Sources say the Maria-Modi meet was not discussed at all during the meeting.
“It was a scheduled meeting to discuss issues surrounding police housing. The CM did not rake up the ongoing controversy. Maria left with the other officers. The CM and Maria did not meet separately,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express.
The reply submitted by Maria includes a confidential report he had submitted to the Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police on his meeting with the former IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi in London last year.
On Sunday, Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had said that Maria had been told to furnish everything officially to the government on statements he had made to the media regarding his meeting with Lalit Modi, prompting a detailed account of the meeting.
The Anti-Extortion Cell report furnished on Monday comes against the backdrop of criticism of the Commissioner for informing only former state home minister RR Patil who passed away earlier this year. The State Home Department was reportedly miffed as Maria did not follow protocols.
“Ideally, he should have had informed the Director General of Police of the State and the Home Secretary about his meeting with Modi but he did not do so and instead only orally informed Patil,” said a senior official from the State Home Department. The Mumbai Commissioner meeting a fugitive wanted by one of our agencies is an issue of propriety,” said the official.
An official who had reviewed the contents of the detailed reply of Rakesh Maria said that in his report, the Commissioner mentioned that the then ACS, Home department, Amitabh Rajan and he had participated in a conclave on security in London in July 2014. “Maria had given a lecture to the Scotland police on July 17. The same day he also met Modi ‘briefly’ on the insistence of his lawyer,” a source close to Maria told The Indian Express. After his return to India, Maria prepared a detailed report on what had transpired between the two during the ‘brief meeting’ in London in July 2014. He also asked the AEC to probe the threat perception to Modi and his family members, the source said. Amitabh Rajan said on Sunday that he had heard about it for the first time through news channels, while Prithviraj Chavan who was the chief minister during that period said he was not informed of any such meeting.
On the query posed by the Commissioner, the AEC had submitted its report and cited jurisdiction issue to gather further evidence on the ‘subject’ (Modi). “The AEC had said that since Modi was not in the city, it would be difficult for him to probe if there is a threat to his life,” added the source.
According to senior Mumbai police officers, there has been no security threat to Modi in the recent past. The last security assessment of Modi and his family was done in June 2010, which stated that a security cover was not required.
On Saturday, Maria through a press release had claimed that during the meeting Modi had expressed a perceived threat to him and his family. “We met, albeit briefly, wherein Modi sought the Mumbai Police’s help as he and his family members were being threatened by the underworld. I categorically informed Modi that Mumbai Police had no jurisdiction in London and he should return to Mumbai to lodge a formal complaint,” the release had stated. “I immediately brought the above details to the notice of the Home Minister and also maintained the requisite confidential record of the same. Besides, the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police was also given, in writing, the details of what had transpired in the meeting for discreet enquiry at their end,” he said.