Lalit Modi sought legal advice for 'higher-up' in Italian Marines case
New Delhi: Lalit Modi's ‘higher up' connections seem to be deeper than it is realised. It has now emerged that the former Indian Premiere League (IPL) boss had sought advice from a noted criminal lawyer from Mumbai on a diplomatic matter -- the murder case in India involving two Italian Marines.
An Indian Express report quoted advocate Zulfiquar Memon that Modi indeed had sought advice on “how the case should be handled” as “someone higher-up wanted to know”.
Memon visited Modi in London in October last year and handed over a report prepared by him on the case.
The case involves two Italian Marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who were arrested for shooting two Indian fishermen dead off the Kerala coast in 2012, allegedly after mistaking them for pirates.
Italy has challenged India's jurisdiction in the case arguing that the incident took place in international waters.
Girone is currently in India awaiting trial but Latorre is in Italy after securing bail from the Supreme Court to travel to his home country for heart surgery.
On September 12 last year, the NDA government supported Latorre's plea on “humanitarian grounds”, and did not object to his pleas seeking extension of bail on two further occasions — January 14 and April 9.
In the series of Modi's ‘political connections', bureaucrats in Rajasthan government say that during Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's first term (2003-08), he was seen as a shadow CM.
A senior bureaucrat recalled that he even used to sit with his foot atop central table in front of Raje.
Modi has claimed that Raje signed a statement supporting his application to the UK government for a travel document in his presence in London on the condition that her name would not be revealed to the Indian agencies. Raje, who has come under opposition fire, has denied signing any such document.
In his interview with a private TV Channel on Tuesday, Modi named three UPA ministers, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and Rajive Shukla who had helped him in his troubled times.
He, however, has refused to give anymore interviews citing his lawyers' advice to not make any statement.
Meanwhile, several media reports suggested that Modi has decided to not give any statements regarding the ongoing row as he said that his lawyers have asked him not to make any statement.
"There are a lot of relations but I'm sorry I can't give you a statement. My lawyers in the UK have asked me not to make any statement. They just want to assess the situation and I shouldn't make any statements," he said.
A controversy erupted after Sunday Times of London reported that Modi was granted visa to Portugal with the consent and recommendation of Swaraj. The Union Minister, however, claimed that she did nothing wrong other than taking a 'humanitarian view' of an Indian.
Lalit Modi moved to London in 2010 amid Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation of FEMA violations amounting to 425 crore in IPL TV rights deal by Lalit Modi in 2009.