The IPL Mess

Modi's show-cause replies 'not acceptable' - Srinivasan

Nagraj Gollapudi

June 22, 2010

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BCCI secretary N Srinivasan speaks at a press conference in Colombo, January 13, 2009
N Srinivasan has rejected the replies filed by Lalit Modi to the three show-cause notices filed by the BCCI © AFP
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N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, has rejected the replies filed by Lalit Modi, the suspended IPL chairman, to the three show-cause notices, terming them as "not acceptable". In a six-page letter to the members of the board, a copy of which is with Cricinfo, Srinivasan rebutted Modi's responses to the various charges, saying they merited further investigation and would be sent to the board's disciplinary committee.

Srinivasan said he had passed this finding to the members of the general body for ratification at the Special General Meeting, (SGM) scheduled for July 3, when a decision on Modi's future will be taken.

"Since Mr Lalit Modi had accused me of being biased against him, after a thorough and careful reading of his explanation against the charges, I have passed an order that it was not acceptable," Srinivasan told PTI. "So, as advised by BCCI president Shashank Manohar, my order has been referred to the members of the general body to ratify my decision on the SGM called on July 3.

"It is left to them to ratify my order after which the matter will be referred to the disciplinary committee. The show-cause notices, his reply to them and my order have been dispatched to all the members and a decision will be taken at the meeting."

In the letter dispatched on June 19, Srinivasan issued a point-by-point rebuttal of Modi's responses to the three show-causes slapped by the BCCI on April 26, May 6 and May 31.

The first notice dealt with the five main charges: the bids for Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the broadcasting deal and reported facilitation fee, rigging of bids for new franchises in 2010, the sale of internet rights, and Modi's behaviour patterns. After asking for a week's extension to the original deadline, Modi responded with a voluminous reply running into 15000-odd pages.

According to Srinivasan, Modi has admitted to "irregularities" in the processing of the finalising of the eight franchise bids. "…Mr Lalit K Modi appears to have admitted the fact that the bid in respect of Rajasthan Royals originally submitted by Emerging Media IPL Pvt. Ltd., and accepted by the Governing Council was finally awarded to another entity by name Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt. Ltd."

Srinivasan's response to each issue addressed by Modi in his replies

  • Irregularity in processing of franchise bids - Sufficient reason to warrant a detailed inquiry.
  • Inclusion of "stringent clauses" in bidding tender - Modi inserted them without the approval of the IPL governing council.
  • Accusation of arm-twisting by Kochi franchise - If Modi's explanation found to be correct, action to be taken against Kochi.
  • Broadcast rights - Irregularities in award of media rights; no reason to involve WSG Mauritius when contract had expired. An apparent loss of US$80m to the BCCI.
  • Internet rights - Prima facie gives leads to serious issues of nepotism and conflict of interest.
  • Misconduct against the BCCI - Modi's explanation far from satisfactory.
  • Plans of a parallel IPL - Modi's claims of malice on part of Giles Clarke irrelevant. Detailed inquiry would have to be conducted.
  • Theatre rights - Explanation not satisfactory.
  • Mid-over advertising contract - Board procedures not followed by Modi.

Srinivasan also denied Modi's explanation that Manohar and the IPL governing council were aware of two new "stringent clauses" that were included in the tender on March 7, the original date for bidding of the two new franchises, which was then deferred to March 21. Srinivasan said that the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document, placed in front of the governing council on December 17 last year, did not contain the two "objectionable conditions".

In his reply, Modi had denied using any "arm-twisting" methods against Rendezvous Sports World, who alleged that the former IPL chairman used pressure tactics against the investors to back out despite meeting all the conditions. Srinivasan's letter said, if Modi's explaination is found to be correct, BCCI will take action against Kochi.

In the charge involving the broadcasting rights, Srinivasan pointed out that Modi knew about the $80m facilitation fee, paid by Multi Screen Media, Singapore, to World Sports Group, Mauritius (original telecast right holders for the Indian subcontinent), but he was unaware of the "quantum" of the payment. The BCCI now wants to know why Modi involved WSG, when the deal with them had expired on March 15, 2009. "Prima facie it appears that the US $ 80 million is a loss caused to the BCCI."

In another stinging attack on Modi, Srinivasan accused the former of "nepotism and conflict of interest" regarding the internet rights for the league, which were awarded to a company that has Gaurav Burman, Modi's son-in-law, on the board of one of the investors in GCV Mauritius, the company that won the rights.

Srinivasan has raised similar concerns about Modi's replies to the other two show-cause notices, citing the explanations as "not satisfactory" and reason enough to refer all these matters to the disciplinary committee.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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