The team of income tax (I-T) officials who, on Thursday, had gone to the office of Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi on the 33rd floor of the Four Seasons luxury hotel at Worli were in for a shock. They did not find relevant documents or computer files related to the IPL, its franchises or Modi.

The officials were certain that the papers, documents and electronic data were kept in a room on the 33rd floor, but they found nothing relevant.

The mystery of the missing information could lie in the CCTV footage of the cameras installed on the hotel floor.

Through that, officials found that 30 minutes before they entered the hotel, a young woman had left the room — the one they had searched — with a laptop and a bag of files. The sleuths entered the hotel at 4.30pm, while the woman left the room at 4pm.

The bewildered officials began asking questions to find out who had given them the slip.

A senior I-T official, on the condition of anonymity, said the woman had already been identified but her name could not be divulged.

He added that the woman was someone who was very closely associated with one of the eight original IPL franchises. The department is now trying to learn why the woman left exactly half an hour before the I-T sleuths reached the hotel. “We also need to find out what the laptop contained and the nature of the documents she took,” the official said.

The I-T department had surveyed three offices of the IPL and Modi in Mumbai on Thursday; the headquarters situated at the Wankhede stadium in Churchgate; Modi’s office situated at the Nirlon House in Worli and the 33rd floor room of the Four Seasons hotel.

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September 2021