New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India has banned former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi for life on charges of financial irregularities. In its Special General Meeting in Chennai on Wednesday, the Board discussed a report filed by its disciplinary committee and decided to impose the ban. Modi can, of course, challenge the BCCI decision in court. (Also read: The rise and fall of Lalit Modi)
After the Delhi High Court on Tuesday allowed the BCCI to go ahead with its SGM, Modi's lawyers on Wednesday morning filed a Special Leave Petition and appealed to the Supreme Court to stall the Chennai proceedings. The apex court dismissed the appeal saying the issue was "an internal matter" where "big shots and big money were involved". Within 15 minutes of the Supreme Court verdict, BCCI booted out Modi.(Also read: Won't let Srinivasan destroy Indian cricket, says Modi)
After expelling Modi, BCCI said in a press release: "Resolved that Mr. Lalit Modi is guilty of committing acts of serious misconduct and indiscipline, and therefore, in exercise of powers as per Regulation 32 of the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of the Board, Mr. Lalit Modi be and is hereby expelled from the BCCI. He shall forfeit all his rights and privileges as Administrator. He shall not in future be entitled to hold any position or office, or be admitted in any Committee or any member or associate member of the Board." It effectively means, Modi will cease to be a vice-president of the Punjab Cricket Association. Modi has a great supporter in PCA boss and BCCI president I.S. Bindra. (Also watch: Former BCCI chief Muthiah says Modi is a fighter, will bounce back)
To expel Modi, the BCCI needed a two-thirds majority (21 votes out of a total of 31). The necessary numbers were easily achieved as Board president N. Srinivasan's clout held sway. Srinivasan and Modi, once friends, are currently arch-rivals. Modi has recently said Srinivasan's extension as BCCI chief will ruin world cricket. Srinivasan, whose two year-tenure as BCCI president comes to an end this month, is seeking a fresh BCCI mandate to continue for another year.
Interestingly, after the Delhi High Court gave the BCCI a go ahead with its SGM, Modi wrote to BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel on Tuesday asking members to adjourn Wednesday's meeting. In his letter, Modi said: "In the event you do not adjourn the meeting kindly place the present letter and the witness statement made by me to the disciplinary committee which was refused to be taken on record by them and was not considered by them. This statement though not taken on record is available both with the BCCI and the disciplinary committee."
Modi even urged Patel to hold a SGM after the BCCI annual general meeting scheduled in Chennai on September 29. Modi wrote: "Please convey my request to all the members for adjourning the present meeting to a date after the AGM, which is to be held on 29.9.2013, so that duly authorized office bearers can convene a SGM. Please note that I do intend to appear before the SGM and place my version and the facility that was extended to the BCCI witnesses for the purposes of recording of their evidence that is by way of video conferencing may kindly be extended to me as well."
In its report, a copy of which was made available to NDTV on September 5, the BCCI disciplinary committee comprising Arun Jaitley, Jyotiraditya Scindia and former IPL chairman Chirayu Amin had found Modi guilty on at least eight counts of "indiscipline and misconduct" relating to financial and administrative matters of the IPL. In its 134-page report, the disciplinary committee said Modi had run the affairs of IPL single-handedly between 2008 and 2010. Modi was accused of rigging bids by adding unreasonable clauses in the tender draft to buy two new teams to favour two companies. He apparently hid the clauses from the IPL Governing Council. Accused of pocketing facilitation fees (from TV broadcast deals) to the tune of 80 million dollars, Modi even tried to form a rebel league with the help of English cricket bosses after being expelled.
Modi had issued a "point-by-point rebuttal" of the charges. Modi also alleged that he was not given a fair opportunity to fight his case, saying that while BCCI's "witnesses" were examined over 20 months, "my defence was hurriedly concluded" in 49 days. He also claimed that the witnesses he wanted to examine were "not summoned" and IS Bindra, the former BCCI president who Modi felt wanted to paint a fair picture of the situation, "was dissuaded from attending on the ground that appearing for me would tantamount to appearing against BCCI".
Blaming the disciplinary committee of being biased against him, Modi wrote in his blog: "The committee indicted me on all grounds on which they could lay even fanciful claim. On allegations where their wildest fancies found no basis to hold me guilty, they grudgingly exonerated me."
Modi said, "I am a bad enemy to make, because I am a winner. You don't want to take such extreme steps with me; rather, you want to negotiate with me, because you need to be able to walk away.
"Do I care about a life ban? Really couldn't care less, as they can't ever take away what I created (the IPL). They can destroy it. But I will keep at them for sure."
Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia, talking to NDTV, said: "Lalit may have built the IPL but it was with the full support of the BCCI. You need to put things into perspective it is a BCCI property. Lalit was only the implementer.
"Without BCCI support Lalit could not have done anything," said Wadia 'cautiously' supporting the BCCI.