Red Corner notice for former cricket czar premature, says agency
Graft-tainted former cricket czar Lalit Modi got a major reprieve after the Interpol declined a “premature” Indian request for a Red Corner Notice to seek his arrest and extradition as a probe against him in India has not concluded.
Modi tweeted his happiness: “The sword that was hanging over my head has suddenly gone.”
The Interpol ruling came in an 11-page classified document posted on social media by Modi, who left India in 2010 following alleged financial irregularities in the cash-rich Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 2009 season.
Modi, 50, has been living in London since then. The allegations against him relate to tax evasion, money laundering and proxy ownership linked to the IPL. The Enforcement Directorate says Modi manipulated the process of assigning broadcast rights of the IPL in 2009, reportedly in exchange for a kickback of over Rs1.25bn.
He has refused to return to India, alleging death threats from the underworld.
The Interpol document dated March 24 said: “Lalit Kumar Modi... is not subject to an Interpol Red (Corner) Notice or diffusion and not known in its database.”
It, however, clarified that “in the past the individual (Modi) was subject of data record in Interpol’s database, yet the data was later cancelled”.
It said the data it had received from Indian probe agencies was not compliant with the agency’s rules applicable to the processing of personal information.
“The commission (Interpol) recommends that the data provided by ... India concerning the reporting party (Modi) be deleted from Interpol’s files.” The document, according to the Interpol disclaimer, was “not intended for public dissemination”.
The Enforcement Directorate said it was analysing the document it received on Monday.
“We got the Interpol document yesterday... We are now analysing it before taking further action,” an Enforcement Directorate official said.
Modi voiced his elation on Instagram. “I got the news that the Interpol had ... reached a verdict in my favour with a detailed letter of rejection of India’s request for issuing of a Red Notice.”
The Interpol said a Red Corner Notice could be issued against an individual “only when sufficient judicial data is provided” with the summary of facts and “a clear description of the criminal activities of the wanted person with the time and location of the activity and charges”.
In Modi’s case, the Interpol said, no charges had been established as yet.
India has been seeking Modi’s extradition from the United Kingdom since last year after an approval from a Mumbai court.
The Interpol said India had not started extradition proceedings.
“Only an application is in the process of being sent to the UK under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to obtain (Modi’s) transfer for a purpose other than extradition. A Red Notice appears to be premature.”
It said the purpose of a Red Notice was not to obtain the transfer of a person for assistance in an investigation. Rather the purpose of the notice “is to facilitate the seeking of a person’s extradition.
“That India is proceeding under the MLAT at this stage is further indication that the investigation has not progressed to the point at which extradition can be sought.”
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s nodal agency for Interpol, forwarded an Enforcement Directorate request on August 20, 2015 to issue a Red Corner Notice against Modi in the money-laundering case.
The Enforcement Directorate registered the case on the basis of a complaint filed by then Board of Control for Cricket in India chief N Srinivasan with Chennai police alleging that Modi and others embezzled money in the award of BCCI-IPL cricketing media rights in 2009.