Mumbai(PTI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has been asked to provide “information” on his statement regarding his meeting with tainted ex-IPL boss Lalit Modi in London.
A fresh controversy broke out on Friday in the Lalit Modi episode after Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria admitted that he had met the tainted ex-IPL boss in London in 2014 on the insistence of the latter’s lawyer.
“We have asked Rakesh Maria to give information officially to the government on what he has said in the media. Based on his information, we will decide further course of action,” he said.
Asked if a time frame has been laid down for Maria to give the information, the CM said he has been given a day’s time.
On whether Maria will be asked to step down temporarily until the inquiry against him is conducted, Fadnavis said, “First let the information come to us.”
A fresh controversy had broken out on Saturday in the Lalit Modi episode after Maria admitted that he had met the tainted ex-IPL boss in London in 2014 on the insistence of the latter’s lawyer.
Maria came out with a statement on the issue after news channels flashed a photo of the former IPL commissioner and the Mumbai Police Chief.
During the meeting that lasted 15 to 20 minutes, Lalit Modi sought the help of Mumbai police in view of “threat” to his life by the underworld in London, Maria said, adding that he apprised the then Home Minister about the meeting soon after returning from London.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said that repeated requests from Lalit Modi cannot be an “excuse” to meet him and an inquiry will be conducted into what “compelled” Maria to meet Modi.
“As far as what we know till now, on his repeated insistence, Maria met Lalit Modi in London. Now we will have to go through records and examine that what compelled Maria to meet him despite knowing there is so much criticism surrounding him. Insistence cannot be an excuse,” Patil said.
Asked if there could be a political reason behind Maria’s meet with Modi, since the Police Commissioner in his letter to the media stated that he had informed the then state Home Minister about his meet, Patil said, “It is on record that Maria informed the then Home Minister about his meet. May be the Home Minister got convinced of his reasons.
“The only ambiguity here is that if your conscience is clear, if it is not a part of your duty and if the code of conduct does not allow you to, you do not meet someone like Modi even if he is insisting you to meet. This is what needs to be examined,” the minister said.
Maria came out with a statement to say this after news channels flashed a photo of the former IPL commissioner and the Mumbai Police chief. During the meeting that lasted 15 to 20 minutes, Modi sought the help of Mumbai police in view of “threat” to his life by the underworld in London, Maria said, adding that he apprised the then Home Minister about the meeting soon after returning from London.
“In the month of July 2014, I officially attended a conference in London. At the conference, I was approached by an advocate representing Lalit Modi who stated that Lalit Modi wanted to meet me regarding a grave threat to his life and that of his family in London,” Maria said in the statement. Modi, the first Commissioner of Indian Premier League, and others are facing probe by Enforcement Directorate in the alleged forex violation cases.
“It may be recollected that as Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Mumbai, in year 2009-10, the crime branch under me had foiled an attempt on his (Modi’s) life by the Mumbai underworld,” Maria said. Explaining the sequence of events in London, Maria said Modi’s advocate had requested him to meet Modi briefly. “The advocate requested me that since it was a serious threat to his (Modi’s) life, I should meet Lalit Modi briefly. As per the lawyer’s insistence, we met, albeit briefly, wherein Lalit Modi sought the Mumbai Police’s help as he and his family were being threatened by the underworld,” the statement said.
Maria said he “categorically” informed Modi that Mumbai Police has no jurisdiction in London and that he should return to Mumbai to lodge a formal complaint. “Lalit Modi repeatedly kept requesting for Mumbai Police’s intervention against the underworld. I reiterated to Modi and his lawyer that it was imperative for Lalit Modi to return to Mumbai for the Mumbai Police to initiate any inquiry. Thereafter, the meeting lasted barely for 15/20 minutes,” the Police Commissioner said.
Explaining his position, Maria said he had immediately brought details of the meeting to the notice of the Home Minister on his return to India. “I also maintained the requisite confidential record of the same. Besides, the Anti-Extortion Cell of the Mumbai Police was also given in writing the details of what had transpired in the meeting for discreet inquiry at their end,” he added.
Modi has been embroiled in a row after it came to light that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had facilitated travel documents for him in London and that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had reportedly favoured Modi’s immigration plea in a London court.
This has sparked a huge political storm in the country with the opposition Congress demanding the resignation of Swaraj and Raje. Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil said if there is anything amiss in Maria’a conduct government will have to go into it.