Mehmood Abdi, the attorney of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, has welcomed the order of the Bombay High Court that will allow him to cross-examine witnesses in an Enforcement Directorate (the Indian government’s specialised financial investigation agency) case pertaining to IPL operations. This gives Modi’s legal team the opportunity to cross-examine a number of witnesses, including senior BCCI officials, some of those in charge earlier.
“The court has decided a schedule for cross-examination. So, we will cross-examine one by one all the witnesses and all those whose statements have been relied by the ED and the showcause notice issued to Mr Lalit Modi,” Abdi told ESPNcricinfo. “Because, all the accusations have been framed on the basis of their witnesses. And, rather than witnesses they are statements. We have every right to cross-examine them and we have been taking applications to the Enforcement Directorate from time to time which were not allowed. So, as a last resort, we had to move the Bombay High Court. We are very happy to have been given this relief. Now we will go ahead.”
Abdi also said in a statement that “the judgment as we’d been hoping on the basis of our arguments has vindicated the stand of Mr Lalit Modi that his fundamental rights would be prejudiced if he is not allowed to cross-examine and challenge the statements of all those who have deposed against him.”
The Bombay High Court had on Tuesday allowed a petition filed by Modi challenging an order passed by the Enforcement Directorate’s adjudicating authority in 2005 that didn’t allow him to cross-examine witnesses in a FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) case against him. According to the Indian Express, the court had ordered for the case to be heard expeditiously and an order passed by May 31.
“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 was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
In 2011, the Enforcement Directorate of India’s finance ministry had issued a showcause notice to the BCCI and Modi as part of its investigation of alleged financial irregularities in the IPL. The case in question involves the alleged illegal transfer of INR 90 crore (USD 14.1 mn approx) to the United KIngdom.