This story contains documentary evidence obtained under the Indian Right To Information Act. Click on the links within the article for copies of original documentation that corroborate facts within the article.
On 3rd December, 2010, I made an application under the Right to Information Act (RTI) to obtain documents that would prove beyond all doubt, how government authorities have suppressed and manipulated information about me in order to publicly mis-represent my motives. 23 months later, after a process of applications and regular appeals I have received some - but still not all - of the documents I requested. Under RTI, I continue to pursue release of the remaining documents, but those now in my possession, show that my absence from India is for nothing other than genuine reasons and that the Enforcement Directorate and the Indian Passport office has completely under-estimated the level of the security threat against me.
The activities of the authorities mentioned in the information which follows, have been undertaken to represent me as a fugitive who is willfully evading the Indian authorities. In a statement published on 19th November, 2012, I presented evidence to prove my full commitment to co-operating with the authorities despite their public claims to the contrary. Today, I present further evidence regarding the attempts by certain sections of the Indian government to besmirch my reputation with mis-information and a suppression of the facts.
In April 2009, the Mumbai Police initially informed me that my life was in danger. I was in South Africa organizing the second season of the IPL and was called by Mr. Devan Bharti, an Additional Commissioner of the Mumbai Police, who told me they had received credible information from Central Intelligence Agencies that there was a plot by the underworld to have me assassinated.
He said the reason was my unequivocal stand against any illegal gambling in cricket matches and with the IPL as my focus I had done all I could to stop any sort of damage to the IPL by these illegal betting syndicates.
I was told by Mr. Bharti that professional hit men were watching over my house and office and were known to have maps and security information. Mr. Bharti urged me to maintain sufficient security whilst I was in South Africa and he also asked me to get in touch with the Mumbai Police upon my return.
The Mumbai Police provided 24-hour security for my family while I was away.
I immediately hired the South African security experts, Nicholls Steyn and Associates. In addition, the South African Government was contacted by the Mumbai Police and they provided me with 24 hour armed security while under their jurisdiction.
In the summer of 2009, I also hired leading Israeli Security Specialist, Joseph Draznin, to advise me on safety measures to be undertaken both in South Africa and India. Mr. Draznin identified areas where security for both me and my family needed to be upgraded. Mr. Draznin also suggested hiring an Israeli security agency SDEMA. I consequently applied for retention of the Israeli security experts but the Maharashtra State government and Mumbai Police objected to their retention. I also made various applications for permission to obtain security equipment and measures but the applications I made were not granted. However, this was solved to a large extent by the Mumbai police providing a 24-hour armed police guard to me and my family.
The threat to my life continued to escalate. On 14th October, 2009 I received an e-mail which threatened assassination.
On 23rd February 2010 I was asked to visit the Mumbai police where Mr. Rakesh Maria, Joint Commissioner of the Mumbai Police, informed me they had intercepted communications indicating a fresh plan to assassinate me. It later transpired that there had actually been an attempt on my life while I was in Thailand in January 2010, but which was thwarted by a last minute decision to depart a day earlier than scheduled. Thereafter the Mumbai Police provided me with round the clock armed security.
During the third season of the IPL (from 12 March to 25 April 2010) I was given additional high-level security in Mumbai because of a further increase in the threat perception. The protection extended into other states in India which I visited during IPL matches. The Mumbai Police replaced the small firearms their officers had been carrying with sub-machine guns. Additionally, I retained the services of NSA to provide me with security advice in India.
Also around this time, I decided to engage the services of leading security company from the UK. They suggested that applications be made for automatic hand guns to be used for close protection, as sub-machine guns were completely inappropriate for that purpose. I submitted an application to the Maharashtra Government for such permission, but this was refused creating doubt about the efficacy and the adequacy of the security arrangements then in place.
On 11th April, 2010, my Twitter revelation exposed the sweat equity in Kochi franchisee and linked it to Mr. Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs and a rising star in the Congress Party. Amidst political furore was forced to resign.
On 25th April, 2010, the third season of the IPL finished against the backdrop of the political events surrounding Mr. Tharoor’s resignation. I was suspended by the BCCI as Chairman of the IPL and the following day, 26th April, 2010, the BCCI issued a Show Cause Notice to me asking me to respond to a range of charges about my conduct whilst I was Chairman of the IPL.
On 11th May, 2010 there was a sudden reduction in the level of protection provided to me by the Mumbai Police, with all armed police being withdrawn. I was not given any warning or any reasons for this action.
With no armed protection in India, but no reduction in the ongoing level of threats, which the security forces knew were still active, I had no option but to leave India. I left India on 14th May, 2010 and travelled to London.
My family remained in India and unarmed personnel of both the Mumbai Police and NSA continued to provide them with security cover. However, in a letter dated 20th May, 2010 the Mumbai police communicated this was completely withdrawn. Three days later, after two suspicious incidents involving my son, I made a request to the then Commissioner of Police for Mumbai, Mr. D. Sivanandan, for the restoration of 24 hour armed security. The request was refused.
A further assessment of the security situation was conducted in India. They concluded that the security threat had not subsided and that it remained real and imminent. It was strongly advised that my family should leave the country immediately.
In October, 2010 my UK advisors provided a further report outlining the security situation after collecting information from India and Pakistan. The report concluded the continued existence of an ongoing threat to me.
As of today’s date I continue to retain private security cover for myself and my family in London.
In August, 2010, the Enforcement Directorate issued a summons to me to supply documents pertaining to the IPL and to attend their office in person. I provided them with all documents that I had as a show of complete co-operation. However, I informed them that I could not appear because of the continued security concerns. To my surprise, I received a show cause notice from the Enforcement Directorate which alleged that I had willfully avoided the summons issued and that the grounds of the security concerns raised by me were not tenable. In doing so, the Enforcement Directorate completely suppressed the information provided to them by the Mumbai Police concerning a threat to my life from the underworld. (I later found these documents through my requests under the Right to Information Act). Meanwhile, I separately filed my reply to the show cause notice.
Without adjudicating the show cause notice in terms of my reply, the Enforcement Directorate moved the Passport Authorities to revoke my passport. Proceedings before the Passport Authorities were completely premature as the Enforcement Directorate itself had not decided on its show cause notice. The Passport Authorities went forward to revoke my passport, suggesting that the issue of the security threat raised by me was not tenable.
Throughout the Enforcement Directorate and Passport proceedings I called upon both the Enforcement Directorate and Passport authorities to verify the continued threat with Mumbai Police. However the authorities failed to request complete records from the Mumbai Police who only gave a skeletal picture of the threat in its response. The ED and Passport authorities brushed aside the issue without possession of the full facts.
I therefore made an application under the Right to Information Act from Mumbai Police to find out the true picture from their records and on 3rd December, 2010, I specifically asked:
· Whether the police department had sent any communication to various government agencies including income tax, Enforcement Directorate and Department of Revenue intelligence, regarding a security threat to me.
· to inspect the entire files and documents relating to the communications sent by the Police Department to various Government Departments about me (Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and Department of revenue Intelligence) and to take copies.
In an order on 13th December, 2010, the Public Information Officer refused to supply the information on the grounds that disclosure of such information would endanger the life and security of a person. In addition the order stated that supplying the information would also identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.
After hearing evidence from both parties, the appellate authority categorically held that the information should be disclosed.
Despite the appellate order, I was provided with incomplete information.
In a written communication dated 17 December 2010, from the Senior Inspector of Police (Protection Branch) I was informed that the police protection was stopped with effect from 22 November 2010 following an order of the Commissioner of Police for Greater Mumbai. I had in fact lost that protection in May, 2010 the decision which forced me to leave India.
On 24th February, 2011 I requested inspection of the entire files and documents relating to the communications sent by the police department to various government departments ( Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and Department of Revenue Intelligence) and to take copies. Despite such requests, I was not provided with any information.
By a separate application dated 24th February, 2011 I also sought further details, under RTI regarding information available from the Mumbai Police. Despite reminders and requests, the Public Information Officer did not permit inspection of the files.
After these refusals, my constituted attorney visited the office of the Public Information Officer. The letters and requests that I wanted were not supplied by the office of the Public Information Officer, but my attorney was shown a copy of an order dated 7the March, 2011, which recorded that provision of the information sought for by me had been refused. I then filed a complaint before the Chief Information Commissioner . I appealed against the order before the appellate authority, and by an order dated 19th May, 2011, the Appellate Authority partly allowed the appeal and directed the information officer to grant inspection and copies of the documents.
Approximately, two weeks later, on 8th June, 2011, I was served with a letter by the Appellate Authority that was supposedly the result of a discussion with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) who had set aside his own earlier order and agreed with the original order.
I filed a further appeal before the Chief Information Commissioner. My appeal was allowed by the Chief Information Commissioner on 7th September, 2012 and 19th October 2012 .
Consequently, I was supplied papers that disclosed the security threat. Those documents indicated that confidential information on 26th March, 2009 was received by the Mumbai Police that underworld elements were out to target me, and that the Mumbai Police had provided me with security. The documents further revealed that the email threat was investigated approximately one year after it was issued, which itself showed that the Mumbai Police was merely going through the motions regarding my security threat when the facts clearly confirmed otherwise. This information confirms that the letter written by Mumbai Police to the Enforcement Directorate suggested security would be provided upon my return was only a formality because Mumbai Police did not want to officially record an official inter departmental communication that ignored the real and present threat to me.
The documents also revealed that as late as June, 2010 (two months after security was withdrawn which prompted my move to England) an identified element of the underworld was out to target my life which was in particular danger in Mumbai.
There has been no explanation of the inconsistent stand taken by Mumbai Police when it removed all armed security from me on 11th May, 2010 leaving me exposed to an unacceptable level of risk. Or why, on 20th May, 2010 they withdrew all security from my family.
Surprisingly, the documents confirming withdrawal of security were not supplied by Mumbai Police, forcing my constituted attorney to move an application to authorities under RTI to reveal them.
It was only on 29.10.2012 that my constituted attorney was supplied certain documents under RTI Act by the Mumbai Police which clearly indicate the extent and magnitude of the security threat that I face.
But even then, when my authorised representative inspected the file, the copies of the letters dated 21st May 2010 (relating to the withdrawal of security to my family) and 17th December 2010 ( confirming withdrawal of protection for me with effect from 22nd November, when it had in fact been withdrawn 6 months earlier) were not available on record and were not part of the documents handed over to him. We continue to pursue the release of these letters.
The obstructive process made it extremely difficult to obtain documents even under RTI but they were necessary for me to prove to another wing of the government - namely the Enforcement Directorate and Passport Authorities - that a substantial security risk still remains. I still await one final document which the agencies are refusing to release but the evidence I now have clearly shows that government agencies have been attempting to deny me any vindication whatsoever.
The threats to my life were - and are - very real and as recently as this summer, the Pakistani media carried reports of fresh security threats against me.
But the propaganda against me has continued to percolate while the evidence has been unavailable for the public to view.