India news August 27, 2014

Modi's return will alter BCCI equations, says Modi's lawyer

ESPNcricinfo staff

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"He [Lalit Modi] is the only person who can take on Srinivasan," says Lalit Modi's lawyer

The Delhi High Court order to restore Lalit Modi's passport will prove as a "rallying point" in altering power equations in the BCCI, Modi's lawyer Mehmood Abdi has said. A two-judge bench of Badar Durrez Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru reversed the three-year old-order that revoked Modi's passport, paving the way for his return to India. However, Abdi said Modi hasn't yet decided on his schedule to shift his base from London, where he has been based for more than four years.

"When he is back in India, the equations in BCCI will be altered," Abdi told ESPNcricinfo. "All the people who are feeling suffocated and who are looking to have some telling voice to take on Srinivasan will be relieved to see Lalit Modi back in India. Because he is the only person who can take on Srinivasan."

The order came as a fillip to Modi, who was recently elected as the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association despite having been expelled for life from Indian cricket by the BCCI.

Since moving to London in April 2010, citing threats to his life and after being suspended by the BCCI for various alleged defaults, Modi was charged for various Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) misappropriations. During the investigations, his passport was revoked on March 3, 2011. In January 2013, Modi's appeal against the revocation was turned down.

However, the Delhi High Court reversed the order on grounds that the documents considered while revoking his passport were "extraneous and irrelevant".

While Modi tweeted he would not comment on the order, Abdi said the development was "a delightful occasion and a reason for celebration". "Our stand which has been taken by us all along that his passport was erroneously revoked on legally unsustainable grounds has been vindicated," Abdi told ESPNcricinfo. "He can come back any time in India now, but he has not given us any specific schedule."

Abdi also claimed that Modi no longer has any "criminal proceedings" against him, unless the government of India appeals against the High Court order in the Supreme Court. Abdi said all the alleged FEMA violations while organising IPL 2009, which Modi has been charged for, are not against him individually. "He is one of the many BCCI office-bearers who have been charged. By the way, FEMA violation does not entail any criminal liabilities. The matter is of civil nature which entails penalties and fines, etc, so there is nothing criminal pending against him anywhere in India or abroad," Abdi said.