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ED is passing the buck to Passport authorities: Modi's lawyer

November 19, 2010 08:44 IST

Lalit Modi's legal counsel Mehmood Abdi has alleged that the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in recommending the revocation of the former IPL chairman's passport, was just passing the buck to the passport authorities.

Modi's counsel - Venkatesh Dhond, Swadeep Singh Hora, along with Abdi today attended a hearing before the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) on their plea to inspect documents, on the basis of which the RPO had sought to revoke former Modi's passport this evening.

"Certain startling revelations came about during the hearing when it was pointed out by Modi's lawyers that the ED in its recommendatory letter dated October 15 to the passport officer for revocation of Modi's passport only disclosed its showcause notice to him but conveniently concealed his reply dated October 12, 2010 to this very showcause," Abdi told PTI after the hearing, which lasted for over four hours.

"This shows that though the ED did not find anything objectionable in Lalit Modi's reply to its showcause and remains silent about it, it preferred to pass the buck to the Passport Office for revocation of his passport. This is a very sparingly used provision which cannot be applied on a frivolous recommendation made by the ED," he said.

Modi's lawyers further impressed upon the RPO not to treat these proceeding as mere inter-departmental proceedings but as a quasi-judicial proceeding wherein both the former IPL chairman and the ED are at equal footing as petitioners before the RPO, which has to act as a judge in this case, Abdi said. "We will lodge a formal protest tomorrow on certain issues on which we felt that fairness was wanted in the conduct of the proceedings," he added.

Abdi said the preliminary issue of confidentiality and disclosure of documents, which the passport authority is relying upon for proposed initiation of revocation of Modi's passport under section 10(3)(C), was argued by his counsels during the hearing. 

"The hearing remained inconclusive and shall be resumed on future date convenient to RPO and the counsel representing Modi," he said. 

Since Modi's legal team is pre-occupied with the BCCI disciplinary committee proceedings scheduled from November 21-25 in Delhi, the passport officer has been requested to fix the next date of hearing after November 25, Abdi said.

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