Mumbai: Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar on Wednesday approached the Bombay High Court challenging the Enforcement Directorate (ED) notice for adjudication issued against him over allegations of foreign exchange violations in the IPL tournament held in South Africa in 2009.
The ED had on June 6 issued notice initiating adjudication proceedings against Manohar under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) regarding a bank account opened in South Africa by BCCI and IPL ahead of the cricketing event. According to the agency, USD 5,00,00,000 were transferred to this bank account.
Senior counsel Raju Subramanium, appearing for the former BCCI chief, argued that sacked IPL chairman Lalit Modi took all the decisions regarding IPL and Manohar was not involved in day-to-day affairs of the cricket board and IPL governing council.
"Lalit Modi spearheaded the IPL idea and hence all major decisions were taken by him after approval from the committee. In fact, Manohar had advised the IPL governing council to first take permission from RBI and then open the account in South Africa," Subramanium said.
He argued that the account opened in South Africa was not of BCCI but of IPL. "Manohar has been embroiled in this only because of the position he held as president. He is willing to go for a personal hearing, but the FERA is a quasi-criminal offence. And hence, there is possibility of prosecution," the counsel said.
Additional Solicitor General Kevic Setalvad opposed the petition saying, "the inquiry is at a preliminary stage. The ED is not saying that Manohar is guilty. He has been only asked to come for inquiry. Under FERA, the punishment is only by way of penalty."
Emphasising that the account was operated by BCCI and IPL together, Setalvad said, "The funds flowed from BCCI and franchise owners. The operation of accounts, change of venue and everything else regarding the IPL was decided by BCCI. Five crore dollars were transferred to the account and till date the money has not come back. There is loss of foreign exchange."
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha heard the arguments and reserved its order.