Mumbai Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria is known for his extravagant lifestyle and he is well connected with politicians, mafias, criminals, authorities, celebrities etc., as part of his profession and also in personal relations. His meeting with Lalit Modi should not be a surprise to anyone. Moreover looking at his position, the debate over his meeting with Modi is uncalled for. Nowadays, Lalit Modi is in limelight as many politicians helped him in his exile.
Maria is not new to controversy; a fresh hullabaloo broke out in the Lalit Modi episode after he admitted that he had met the tainted ex-IPL boss in London in 2014 on the insistence of the latter’s lawyer. Maria says the meeting was at the insistence of Lalit Modi’s counsel and he had reported the matter to the state home minister on his return. As Commissioner of Police, many people approach Maria with complaints. After coming back, he met then Home Minister R R Patil and told him about it and put this on the records of Mumbai Police. In a statement issued by the office, Maria said that he was approached by an advocate representing Lalit Modi who stated that Modi wanted to meet him. Maria further said that Lalit Modi repeatedly kept requesting for Mumbai Police’s intervention against the underworld. Maria’s disclosure comes at a time when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje are in the middle of a controversy over their role in helping the tainted Lalit Modi.
Maharashtra government too sought a clarification from Maria regarding his meeting with Lalit Modi. The meeting took place at a cafe in London on July 17, last year. Now, to sum up all these arguments, even if the lawyer who acted as an intermediary asked that Maria meet with Modi in view of the treat in London, Maria should have promptly informed that ignorant lawyer that they should only contact London police or Scotland Yard. What is the idea of saying that he needs to come to Mumbai to initiate an inquiry. If Maria really felt that he should help Modi then he should have simply communicated the information as a goodwill gesture to London police. Even London police are on the purpose to prevent crime and keep the society safe. Maria meeting Modi may still be a mere courtesy visit, given the past association, but then also there is more than what meets the eye.
Everyday something or the other is popping up in the Lalit Modi case. Congress slowed the investigation process, but BJP ministers and functionaries are supporting the reportedly fugitive Modi on some pretext or the other, and if no reasonable case exists against Lalit Modi, the entire issue through Enforcement Directorate and Department of Revenue Intelligence should be scrapped. Or a detailed investigation should be ordered against anyone who shows soft corner towards Lalit Modi. This Government is weakly defending BJP leaders and the rest are advised to defend themselves. I hope, BJP will take interest in reaching the truth. By defending Lalit Modi and those leaders connected to him may hurt the reputation of BJP very badly. Another doubtful question is, how the Government or CM of Maharashtra could investigate any matter in which its own Chief Minister and Foreign Minister are directly involved. Other BJP leaders and ministers are trying to cover it up? Our PM, who does not lose any opportunity to talk, has totally become MaunModi on this issue. Chief Justice of India should setup a bench to enquire the matter and this matter should reach to some conclusion soon.
Meanwhile, BJP had been fire fighting since last week as it came to light that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had helped to get Modi’s travel documents in UK. She had also met him at a private dinner in London. Though, Swaraj said helping Modi was a humanitarian gesture, the opposition has accused her of impropriety and demanded her resignation.
In 2010, Modi oversaw the bidding process and creation of two new teams in the Indian Premier League. Pune and Kochi were declared the new franchises. A Twitter entry by Modi declaring the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL Team breaching confidentiality agreements led to the resignation of then the State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor. Modi was then suspended as chairman and Commissioner of the IPL in April 2010. A suspension notice and a 34-page letter stating 22 charges of impropriety were served via email to Modi. Modi publicly protested his innocence immediately after the 2010 Indian Premier League Final had been played. In March 2012, New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns successfully sued Modi for making false statements in the media about Mr. Cairns. This is after Modi posted on Twitter in 2010 that Cairns had been involved in match-fixing during 2008, which was proven to be lies made up by Modi. Cairns won costs and damages. On Sept 6, 2013, BCCI’s three-member committee consisting of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Arun Jaitley accused Modi of several charges of irregularities, which Modi denies. On September 25, BCCI imposed a life ban on him after a Special General Meeting held at Chennai.
In regard to financial irregularities charge, the Enforcement Directorate (ED, India’s intelligence agency responsible for enforcing financial laws) has said that they have no strong evidence as of May, 2014 that proves that Lalit Modi was involved in capacity as an individual for breaking foreign exchange laws. The transaction in suspicion doesn’t tie back to Modi. Modi has been actively trying to encourage the cricketing powers to take the threat of match fixing seriously ever since he parted ways with the BCCI. In March 2014, citing the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal as an example, Modi referred to match-fixing as a potential ‘death penalty’ for the sport.