Modi’s voluminous reply virtual chargesheet against GC members

By Veturi Srivatsa, IANS,

New Delhi/Mumbai : Lalit Modi, the suspended chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is believed to have put its entire Governing Council (GC) in the dock in his reply Saturday to the showcause notice slapped on him by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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Modi, in his reply, supported by tomes of documents running into over 9,000 pages, is a virtual chargesheet against all his GC colleagues, as reported by IANS Friday, and it turns the tables on his principal opponents in the Board as well.

Ever since the controversy broke out after he tweeted the names of IPL’s newest franchise Kochi, Modi has maintained that all decisions were taken with the concurrence of the entire GC and he might have carried the argument forward in his reply to say that if he was guilty of any wrongdoing, then all his comrades are as much guilty in okaying hem.

Modi’s reply was collated by three highly reputed companies of solicitors and a battery of lawyers headed by legal luminaries like Ram Jethmalani and Harish Salve. It was submitted to the Board by Modi’s lawyer Mehmood Abdi.

The Modi camp wants an independent panel to go through his reply, not any GC or Board member who is party to the decisions as that amounts to sitting in judgment over their own decisions.

Modi’s reply, packed sleekly in six cartons and delivered at the BCCI Cricket Centre headquarters in Mumbai, contains close to two lakh SMSs exchanged between GC members and him, thousands of e-mails, agenda papers and the minutes of the meetings, revealing the names of all those who attended and appended their signatures to the decisions.

Modi may have also demanded in the reply that an independent committee to sit in judgment over his reply, not anyone from the GC as they are all party to every decision he has taken.

Based on the reply, Abdi is confident all charges against Modi will be dropped.

“The charges were based on allegations and gossip. BCCI can never prove its allegations. We are confident that all the charges against Modi will be dropped. In fact, BCCI president Shashank Manohar is an well-known lawyer and it will take him few hours to go through the reply. It can be done even today,” said Abdi.

When asked to reveal the contents, Abdi said: “It is for BCCI to share the reply with you. But there are some interesting perspectives of the issues and controversies.”

A Board member, who till Friday argued that the suspended IPL commissioner did everything single-handedly, said Saturday on condition of anonymity: “If what Modi seeks to prove is correct, then the entire GC is guilty of abetment and they, too, should be suspended along with him.”

“Going by what Modi has been hinting at from time to time, it is now clear that the decisions were involuntary for the GC members, including the three former India captains, to back off. In any case, how can any GC member sit in judgment as part of disciplinary/standing committee over his own decision?” the member asked while speaking to IANS Saturday night.

“The law doesn’t make exceptions for the ignorant”, he added.

Modi questioned the Board basing its chargesheet on unsubstantiated allegations, complaints and innuendos like the Kochi agreement being signed only after a directive from the Board chief, some of the deals being finalised without the knowledge of the IPL Governing Council and his holding proxy stakes in three IPL franchises.

Modi also questioned the veracity of the information supplied by a “reliable source,” saying the Board has come up with “fiction” to justify its charges against him, giving the information a “privileged and confidential” garb.

BCCI secretary N. Srinivisan brought the very public e-mail exchanges with Modi to an end by assuring him that he could reply only on the “basis of the facts and documents, which have been referred to” him in the chargesheet and not on any other material.

Modi, who was to submit his reply Monday, had sought a five-day extension and Manohar agreed to it.