Eluding investigating agencies for last six months over allegations of foreign exchange violations, sacked IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi found his passport revoked on Friday by the government in its bid to bring him back from London.
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Passport Office, Mumbai informing that under Section 10 (3)(C) of the Passport Act, the passport of Lalit Modi has been revoked," Modi's counsel Mehmood A Abdi said.
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.