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Mumbai court likely to decide on non-bailable warrant against Lalit Modi

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Mumbai: A special court here is likely to pass an order on Wednesday, regarding the issuance of a non-bailable warrant against former Indian Premier League (IPL) czar Lalit Modi for his role in a case of alleged money laundering.

According to reports, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is strongly pushing for a non-bailable warrant against the former IPL chairman even after the court asked it on what grounds it was demanding the issue of a non-bailable warrant without a charge sheet being filed in the case.

If the court upholds the request, it would not only lead to Modi’s arrest as and when he returns from London, but also pave the way for the issuance of a Red Corner Notice against him, if he chooses to remain a fugitive from justice.

If the court does not allow the ED’s request, the government is likely to move the Supreme Court to revoke Modi’s passport against a Delhi High Court order that had restored it. This would force Modi to return to India to face a hostile government.

Modi has been at the centre of a high-stake confrontation between the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress in Parliament. The Opposition has alleged that NDA ministers have helped Modi travel out of the UK and that he is being shielded.

On Tuesday, replying to the court’s query on how a warrant could be issued in the absence of a charge sheet, the ED’s advocate said Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases follow a format that is different from regular criminal cases.

Special judge P R Bhavake asked the prosecution if the court had the power to issue such a warrant pending probe. It further questioned why the agency had not arrested Modi yet.

The ED’s lawyer said the case was in the pre-investigation case and it can seek the court’s assistance as and when required. The lawyer said the court had the jurisdiction to issue such a warrant.

BCCI had registered an FIR in Chennai in 2010 against Modi and others under various provisions of the Indian penal Code (IPC), while two years later ED filed a case under the PMLA, in connection with a multi crore-rupee television rights deal of Indian Premier League. (ANI with inputs)