Lalit Modi, former Indian Premier League Commissioner, has hit out at the Indian Government after his passport was revoked on Friday by theÂ Mumbai Regional Passport Office.
Modi has lambasted the government on his Twitter account. "Most corrupt Government in the History of India. If you can't get someone on your side, cancel their passport, threaten them, intimidate them," Modi tweeted.
He said his passport has been cancelled after he refused to bribe the authorities. "mere allegations, investigation agencies have come up with zilch,but all asking for bribes,to hush up case, when i said no passport cancelled," he posted on the micro-blogging site.
The Enforcement Directorate-driven action is aimed at probing Modi in the allegation of violations of foreign exchange laws in the conduct of T20 cricket tournaments.
"A letter has been received from Regional Passport Office, Mumbai informing that under Section 10 (3)(C) of the Passport Act, the passport of Lalit Modi has been revoked," Modi's counsel Mehmood A Abdi said on Friday.
He said that Modi, who is at present in London, has been given time till March 31 to either file an appeal to the Ministry of External Affairs or move court in the matter. The counsel has termed government's action as "very strange and shocking".
"I find it very strange and shocking because when we last heard from the Regional Passport Officer, our written submissions as well as our request for an opportunity for further hearing was under active consideration by the concerned authorities," Abdi said.
He said the passport office has got power to initiate impounding or revocation of passport.
"We had requested the authority another opportunity of fair hearing... I am afraid that this decision to revoke Modi's passport is more than what meets the eye on the basis of inconclusive submissions and presentations.
"It is in a way infringement of fundamental rights. We are studying it and will decide on a future course of action on it," the counsel said.
According to Section 10 (3)(C) of The Passport Act, 1967, the government may order impounding "if the passport authority deems it necessary to do so in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of India, friendly relations of India with any foreign country, or in the interest of the general public."
The move assume significance as the ED has already issued an international Blue Notice Alert for detention of suspended Indian Premier League chief.
The ED notice had said that Modi "has been allegedly involved in serious contraventions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, in connection with the IPL".
It said that Modi is suspected to have fraudulently acquired substantial foreign exchange outside India by misusing his position as Chairman, IPL. He is alleged to have made investments in some of the franchises of the IPL to certain front companies abroad.
The notice issued in September last year - an international alert to law enforcement agencies to obtain information about a person's identity and activities - aims to gather further information about Modi's whereabouts and his activities which are not known to the agency as he is abroad, sources said.
Once such an alert is issued against an individual by a law enforcement agency in India, sleuths of the counterpart agency in any foreign land can intercept and question the person who has been flagged, they said.
Modi is also facing charges of financial and management irregularities in the conduct of Twenty20 cricketing event.
(With PTI inputs)