MEA, Finance Ministry embroiled in blame game over Lalit Modi’s passport

New Delhi(PTI): A blame game appears to be brewing between the External Affairs Ministry and Finance Ministry over not challenging the Delhi High Court order restoring the passport to tainted former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

Sources in the MEA sought to blame the Enforcement Directorate on not challenging the order on the ground that it was the ED which was investigating cases against him and it should have followed up the matter in the High Court.

They said if ED had consulted the MEA, then it would have approached the court with an appeal but the agency never came to either with details of the investigation or the request to challenge the judgement.

The External Affairs Ministry had revoked Modi’s passport following a request by the ED in 2010 and sources indicated that the Ministry may consider filing an appeal against the High Court order to restore Modi’s passport if the probe agency approaches it.

However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley himself stepped in to say that he matter of passport came within the “jurisdiction” of the passport authorities and “they will take a decision”.

Finance Ministry is said to be of the view that it was neither a party nor a respondent in the court case and it could not intervene in the matter of passport.

It was the MEA which was fighting the case in the court and it was for it to decide on whether to appeal or not, according to the finance ministry.

Modi was issued a fresh passport from the Indian High Commission in London in September last year following the court order. Stepping up attack on Swaraj, the Congress has been questioning her as to why no appeal was filed against the court order to restore Modi’s passport. The party has sought to know as to who took the decision not to challenge the High Court order.