Lalit Modi Is Now a Citizen of Malta, but ED Still Wants Him Back
Former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi has taken up citizenship of Malta, says the Enforcement Directorate.
The former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, who is on the run, has taken citizenship of Malta, a small country in the central Mediterranean Sea. According to sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED), this information was passed on to the agency by Interpol. However, there is no clarity yet on whether Modi has already surrendered his Indian passport. In May 2010, Lalit Modi fled from India after the ED registered a money-laundering case due to financial irregularities in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Recently, a Mumbai court passed an order to begin the process of extraditing Modi. According to the agency, the process of extradition doesn’t get affected even if Modi is not a citizen of India.
If the government of Malta turns down the request to extradite Modi to India, then certainly it would be difficult for us to bring him back.Senior Official, Enforcement Directorate
Why Citizenship of Malta?
The Republic of Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, is known for historic sites. As per the law of the land, a person can get Malta citizenship by making investments in the country. The Malta Individual Investor Programme rules provide for affluent persons of impeccable standing and repute to be naturalised and to receive Maltese citizenship on the basis of a contribution to and investment in Malta.
In August 2015, the ED had sent a formal request to Interpol to arrest Modi in Malta. The request copy also stated the address of Modi’s residence in Malta. It also stated that given Modi’s history, the agency apprehended that he might abscond from the requested country.
But Interpol didn’t pay much heed to the request, expressing dissatisfaction with the evidence supplied by the agency against Modi. The Quint had earlier reported that Interpol had been delaying the Red Corner Notice against Modi. In a letter to Interpol, Modi’s lawyer conveyed that the case against him was a political vendetta.
The agency has been dragging its feet in bringing Modi back to India for the past several years. Though the Indian court is in agreement with the ED, without the support of Interpol and the Malta government, the chances of extraditing Modi are weak.
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