The IPL mess May 26, 2010

Modi's legal team confident of positive response

Lalit Modi's legal team is confident of receiving a positive response, and a favourable outcome, to the mail sent on Tuesday to members of the IPL governing council seeking an independent panel to look into the charges against him. Modi in his mail also asked for Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, and N Srinivasan, the secretary, to recuse themselves from the entire procedure.

Mehmood Abdi, a key member of Lalit Modi's legal team, said on Wednesday that since both Manohar and Srinivasan were the subject of allegations made by Modi in the mail, they should not be a party to the board's investigation process of the showcause notice served by the BCCI on April 26.

"When the judge fails to recuse himself then the party has got to remind him that, firstly, there is a case of conflict of interest and I have got reasons to believe there is some bias or prejudice against him," Abdi told Cricinfo.

The 14-page mail has alleged, inter alia, that Manohar influenced the franchise bidding process in March this year and Srinivasan intervened in the player auction in January. It is this involvement, Modi has argued, that could harm his chances of a fair trial and hence he requested Manohar to step down from the board's disciplinary committee.

Simultaneously Modi also wanted Srinivasan to be suspended and charges of conflict of interest against him be investigated. Modi's camp has indicated that it may consider going to court if the requests are not granted.

Recusal is an established legal option available to any litigant when he apprehends that the adjudicating authority has any interest - especially financial - at stake in the case at hand.

"In this case the definition holds true: Mr Srinivasan has got a clear conflict of interest," Abdi said.

The Modi camp, he said, will remain patient and is confident of receiving a reply from Manohar. "Certainly we expect a reply," he said. "Not only reply, action as well because all of them have been a party to the all the proceedings. There is nothing very unusual being sought by Mr Modi and we expect a fair hearing."

Though Srinivasan and Manohar were not available to respond to what constitutes damaging allegations from Modi, a senior board official indicated it was not considering responding at this juncture. "The board will not offer any comment to what they feel are baseless allegations."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo