Lalit Modi, the suspended IPL commissioner, has begun libel proceedings against the ECB chairman Giles Clarke in the London High Court. Modi complained of defamatory allegations made by Clarke in an email sent to BCCI president Shashank Manohar, which alleged that Modi was planning to set up a rebel league involving counties. The BCCI reacted by issuing a show-cause notice to Modi and he denied the charges in his reponse.

Modi's action against Clarke came on the same day that he filed his reply to the BCCI's third show-cause notice, which accused him of irregularities in the sale of theatrical rights and mid-over ads for the third IPL season. Modi's lawyer, Mehmood Abdi, defended the post-facto ratification of Modi's decisions by the IPL governing council, attributing the IPL's success to its lack of red tape and the ability to take immediate decisions.

"What the IPL has achieved in two years was largely due to the strength of functional efficiency by surpassing bureaucratic and red tape channels of any organization," Abdi said. "Operational requirements demanded taking of spot decisions due to paucity of time."

On the subject of theatrical rights, Abdi told PTI the BCCI stood to lose money if Modi had not signed the agreement. "Indian viewers would have been denied of watching IPL matches live on theatre screens and loss of revenue would have been caused to BCCI." he said.

He went on to accuse BCCI secretary N Srinivasan of costing the board money last year by delaying the sale of these same rights. "The idea of monetising the theatrical rights was tasked during IPL II as well, but due to the delay caused by honorary secretary Mr. Srinivasan, it could not materialise," Abdi said.

The 10-year theatrical rights were awarded last November for Rs 330 crore ($71 million) to Entertainment & Sports Direct (ESD), which is owned by DAR Capital Group, an investment advisory and private equity company based in Dubai. The BCCI subsequently accused Modi of undervaluing the rights and awarding them without consulting the IPL governing council.

When it came to mid-over ads, Abdi claimed there wasn't enough time to float a tender and that's why Modi just handed the task to Pioneer Diagsys. "For the first time, it was suggested by the marketing experts from both IMG and the IPL to monetise it for introducing a fresh revenue stream for BCCI, and the governing council approved it on March 7, 2010. With the IPL starting just five days, there was no time to float a tender for selling these rights.

"To safeguard the BCCI's interest in the best possible manner, it was granted to Pioneer Diagsys on a non-exclusive basis for an estimated revenue of Rs 28 crore. Operational requirements demanded taking of spot decisions due to paucity of time. This was one such example where the governing council had to ratify the decision [later]." According to Pioneer chief executive Kunal Dasgupta, the sale of mid-over ads netted roughly Rs 25 crore after taxes.

Abdi also reiterated Modi's demand that BCCI president Shashank Manohar should not be part of the disciplinary panel that will consider the case, as he and Srinivasan were "trying to settle personal scores".

Now that Modi has replied to all three show-cause notices sent by the board, his responses will be placed before a three-member disciplinary panel made up of Manohar, board vice-president Arun Jaitley and interim IPL chairman Chirayu Amin. The panel will decide whether or not to reinstate Modi and hand its recommendation to the general body of the BCCI. According to the board's constitution, the panel has until November to come to a decision.