ALLOWING a petition filed by former IPL chairman Lalit Modi challenging an order passed by the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED’s) adjudicating authority in July 2005 not permitting him to cross-examine a witness in a FEMA case against him, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed that the witnesses be presented before it for cross-examination.
Representing Modi, Senior Counsel Aspi Chinoy on Monday argued that it would prejudice the fundamental rights of Modi if he is not allowed to cross-examine the witness.
Chinoy told the court that the witnesses needed to be cross-examined because the adjudication authority is relying on their statements. The ED’s adjudicating authority had recorded the statements of seven witnesses, including senior BCCI officials.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that the petition was not maintainable. The special court
had earlier served a non-bailable warrant against Modi following which attempts were made to trace him but he was not traceable.
A Red Corner Notice was sought to be issued and the process is underway.
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharti Dangre, after hearing both sides, allowed the petition and directed the adjudicating authority to issue summons to the witness to appear in court for cross-examination from March 2 to 13.
The court also ordered that the case be heard expeditiously and an order passed by May 31. No further extension will be granted, the court said.
“IPL has led to serious violations… IPL has made us familiar with phrases like betting and fixing of matches. RBI, central government and the organisers should now consider if conducting IPL is in the interest of games/sports itself,” the court said.