Bombay HC directs ED to allow Lalit Modi to Cross Examine Witnesses whose statement relied upon in complain against him
Bombay High Court allow ex IPL Chairman Lalit Modi or His Advocates to to cross examine the witnesses whose statements were recorded under Section 37 of FEMA and whose statements have been relied upon in the complaint filed against him for FEMA Law Violations.
High Court allowed Lalit Modi to issue summons to Mr. N. Srinivasan, Mr. Prasanna Kannan, Mr. Sundar Raman, Mr. Chirayu Amin, Mr. Shashank Manohar, Mr. Ratnakar Shetty, Ravi Shankar Shastri, Mr. M. P. Pandove and Mr. Peter Griffith and permit his advocates to cross examine them;
High Court Further directed enforcement agencies to supply a copy of the reply filed by the other eight Co-Noticees
including the BCCI in response to the eleven Show cause Notices issued against the Lalit Modi and others;
High Court further allowed Lalit Modi to to hold the proceedings with respect to all the eight Noticees in the eleven Show Cause Notices and the proceedings with respect to the State Bank of Travancore (Authorized Dealer) and a party in the complaint at the same time and venue.
Relevant Extract is as follows :-
46. As a result of the above discussion, the writ petition succeeds. Rule is made absolute in the following terms:-
(i) The impugned order dated 10th July, 2015 and the contents of the communication are quashed and set aside.
(ii) We direct respondent no. 1 to issue summons to the persons whose statements have been recorded and permit the advocates for the petitioner to cross-examine them. However, we are of the firm view that neither the petitioner nor the respondents can delay the proceedings any further.
(iii) We are indeed surprised that the show cause notice issued way back on 25th November, 2011 remains unadjudicated till date. We do not see how even the respondents agreed to the postponement of the proceedings before this court and in a petition filed on 21st August, 2015. Since this petition was pending for more than two years, the adjudication has been delayed further. Hence, to ensure that the adjudication proceedings come to an end expeditiously, we direct that the petitioner will appear before the adjudicating authority on 14th February, 2018 at 10.30 a.m. and the adjudicating authority shall issue summonses in the requisite forms to the persons whose statements have been recorded and are being relied upon to appear before it for cross-examination and such cross examination shall be held on or before 2nd March, 2018.
(iv) The cross-examination shall be conducted and concluded in two or three sittings and positively by 13th March, 2018.
(v) After the cross-examination is conducted and further opportunities, as envisaged by the rules, are provided, we direct that the adjudication proceedings shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible and in any event by 31st May, 2018. No extension shall be granted in any circumstances.
(vi) We clarify that we have not expressed any opinion on the rival contentions as far as the merits of the allegations in the show cause notices. We also clarify that each of them are kept open for being raised at an appropriate stage before appropriate forum.
47. Before parting, we must indicate that it is because of the acts and deeds of the BCCI in relation to a tournament styled as IPL that all these proceedings had to be initiated and now conducted in accordance with the FEMA. If IPL has led to serious breaches and violations of the FEMA, then, it is high time the organisers realise that after 10 years of holding such tournaments what we have achieved can be termed as a gain or advantage or benefit for they are outweighed completely by the resultant illegalities and breaches of law, which are projected in several courts consuming a lot of precious judicial time. If the IPL has resulted in all of us being acquainted and familiar with phrases such as “Betting”, “fixing of matches”, then, the RBI and the Central Government should at least now consider whether holding such tournaments serves the interest of a budding cricketer, the sport, the game itself. There is a auction and buying and selling of young cricket players by business houses and clubs. Apart from huge money involved, the tournament has brought with it crimes and casualties in the form of ban on clubs and players allegedly involved in wrong doing and breaching of rules and regulations. Now the worrying trend is that such events are being organised even by those in-charge of other sports/games such as Football, Hockey and Badminton. Therefore, it is for the Central Government and the administrators to take a call on all this. We say nothing more.