India Sought Lalit Modi's Deportation in 2013, Chidambaram's Letter Shows

In the letter, P Chidambaram had written that the Lalit Modi "was being investigated by the competent authorities in India for possible serious offences".

New Delhi:

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had written to the United Kingdom two years ago calling for the deportation of disgraced cricket boss Lalit Modi over allegations of money laundering, a letter accessed by NDTV has shown.

The letter written by Mr Chidambaram to his British counterpart George Osborne in August 2013, follows the controversy that had flared earlier this year over what subsequent governments have done to bring back Mr Modi who has lived in London since 2010.

For weeks the Parliament had been brought a standstill as the Opposition led by the Congress, which was in power in 2013, attacked the BJP-led government, which won the elections in the 2014, saying that foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had helped Mr Modi get travel papers in Britain.

In the letter, accessed with a Right to Information plea, Mr Chidambaram had said that India was not seeking Mr Modi's extradition, which usually takes a longer period to process, but requesting the UK deport him.

Mr Chidambaram said that the former Indian Premier League commissioner "was being investigated by the competent authorities in India for possible serious offences".

"I am concerned that despite his passport having been lawfully revoked, resulting in Mr Modi no longer having a valid travel document, he continues to be permitted by authorities to stay in the UK," the finance minister had said.

Mr Chidambaram also noted that close to 3,000 Indians had been deported by the UK because, like Mr Modi, they no longer had a valid passport.

Under investigation for allegations of money laundering by the Enforcement Directorate, Lalit Modi's passport was suspended by the Indian authorities in 2011 but was subsequently reinstated by the Delhi High court in 2014.

In response to Mr Chidambaram's letter the British foreign office on September 23, 2013 wrote to India's then junior minister for external affairs Preneet Kaur saying that "while the British government appreciates the seriousness with which you take Mr Modi's case...where criminal investigations are involved, an extradition request made in the usual manner may be the most timely and appropriate step."

Reacting to the letter, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala today said that it was "clear proof" of the "exhaustive efforts" made by the previous government to bring Mr Modi back to India.

Several BJP spokespersons contacted by NDTV declined to comment while one of them, who did not want to be identified, said that this was "no longer an issue".

Read full text of Mr Chidambaram's letter: