The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money has asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to provide details of the various probes being conducted by the agency against former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
The move comes on a day when the first voice of disapproval emerged from within the BJP over Modi’s controversial links to senior party leaders, with former Home Secretary and MP R K Singh saying that it was “morally and legally wrong” to help a “bhagoda” (fugitive).
Singh, however, did not name External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who enabled Modi to obtain travel papers to visit Portugal last year, or Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, who supported his bid to stay in the UK.
Sources in the SIT, meanwhile, confirmed to The Indian Express that it was decided during a meeting today that the cases against Modi, mostly pertaining to financial irregularities, would be included in the group of “sensitive” cases — including betting in cricket matches — that are being monitored by the SIT from the black money angle.
Officials from the ED and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), who were present at the meeting, were asked to provide details, sources said.
The ED has served 16 show-cause notices to Modi for alleged contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) involving an amount to the tune of Rs 1,700 crore. The ED is gearing up to serve penalty notices in these cases, sources said.
Multiple summons issued by the ED to Modi have been met with responses from his attorneys in India citing a threat to his life as a reason for not appearing before the agency.
The SIT, headed by retired Supreme Court judge M B Shah, was set up last May on the orders of the apex court, and was the first major decision of the NDA government.
Earlier, R K Singh, a Bihar cadre IAS officer, urged the government to make efforts to bring Modi back to India to face the law.
“If anybody helps a ‘bhagoda’ (fugitive), it is wrong. This is wrong legally as well as morally. If anybody meets a fugitive, it is absolutely wrong. Whosoever has helped him, I think it is completely wrong,” Singh told reporters.
The BJP has so far defended Swaraj and Raje, and Singh’s comment is the first by any party functionary against those who helped Modi.