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March 4, 2011
The passport of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has been revoked by the Mumbai Regional Passport Office, five months after he was sacked from the league on charges of financial irregularities. He now has 30 days to appeal the RPO's decision, which could force Modi, who has been residing in the United Kingdom, to return to India.
Modi is already the subject of a blue corner alert issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a department of the finance ministry in Delhi, which was pressing the RPO to revoke his passport. The alert makes it mandatory for law-enforcement agencies around the world to detain, wherever they spot him and inform the ED accordingly. The ED is examining whether Modi violated the Foreign Exchange Management Act during his time as IPL commissioner.
Modi questioned the legality of revoking his passport. "It's unfair; I have not received a showcause notice in nine months," he told Indian news channel CNN-IBN. "I am ready to co-operate with any probe. The only reason I don't want to come back to India is because I fear for my safety."
Modi could get the decision overturned if he manages to convince local courts in Britain that he does face a genuine threat to his safety.
The BCCI suspended Modi immediately following the conclusion of IPL 3 last April and charged him with financial irregularities relating to the bidding process for IPL franchises, the mid-over ad sales and the sale of theatrical rights. He was also charged with colluding to set up a rebel league in England. Modi was officially sacked in September. He is no longer part of the BCCI or the IPL, of which he was the face for the first three seasons.
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