The IPL controversy is threatening an ugly denouement with Lalit Modi, the embattled league chairman and commissioner, seemingly striking a defiant stand ahead of Monday's meeting of the governing council. This was evident in two emails made public today and accessed by Cricinfo; in one, Modi has questioned the validity of the meeting and warned he may not attend and in the other, also addressed to BCCI president Shashank Manohar, he has suggested the release of ownership details of all franchises.
The more provocative mail was today's letter, in which Modi sought a deferment of the April 26 meeting to May 1 on the grounds that he needed more time to prepare the agenda and the paperwork. But, he added, the April 26 meeting was invalid since it has been called by N Srinivasan, a member of the council only by virtue of being BCCI secretary, and hence he would skip it.
However, when contacted by Cricinfo, Srinivasan was unambiguous on the validity of the meeting. "I am the convenor of the governing council. It should take place", he said. Modi's line appeared equally clear. "If the meeting does go ahead on 26th April instead of 1st of May as I have asked it will deem to be unofficial," he wrote. "...I do not propose to attend any unauthorised meeting."
He questioned Srinivasan's competence to call the meeting. "The IPL has been given the powers by the (BCCI) general body to hold their own meetings and I am sorry to say that the Hon. Secretary (BCCI) has never called a GC since inception or is the convener.
"All he is actually is an ex-officio member of the GC as an office bearer of BCCI and as he is a conflicted party who owns an IPL team. He has never and can never call a GC meeting."
He explained the reason for seeking a postponement of the meeting. "...I just returned from Dubai last night and was attending the ICC meeting which you (Manohar) asked me to attend on your behalf...We had to move the matches from Bangalore and also we have the playoffs and awards. We are working 24x7 and as such have had no time to prepare or will have time to do so till post 26th."
The other mail chain dates from April 14, three days after Modi's original tweet revealing the Kochi franchise shareholding structure and a day after he received a reprimand from Manohar for it. It begins with a mail from Modi to "friends" - said to be 71 council members, officials and stakeholders - suggesting that "propriety and fair play demand" that the IPL release the names of all stake-holders.
"We should as public body disclose ownership details along with name of directors of all franchisees once again. Earlier we at the time of bidding only disclosed the names and share holding. If everyone is okay with this we will issue the same right away, that way all doubts and aspirations (sic) being cast on IPL franchises and members of GC [governing council] appropriately rebutted. I hope you all agree with the same."
The next day, the mail chain shows, there was a reply from Manohar. "The issue is complex and needs detailed deliberations and legal implications need to be gone into and hence can be considered at the GC meeting, where all documents and papers relating to the bids are available."
The implication is that Manohar and others who echoed his views in the mail chain were delaying the release of information that had been deemed questionable.
Manohar sought to scotch that viewpoint by repeating in an interview to PTI his original argument. "We received a mail from Mr Venugopal, one of the owners of the Kochi franchise, saying this was a breach of the confidentiality clause in the agreement which had been signed between BCCI and them and he further says they were contemplating legal action. Notice was sent to us on the night of the 11th of April," Manohar said.
"To wriggle out of the situation, Modi wrote a mail dated April 14, 2010 to me and members suggesting that all details regarding the franchisees be made public. I replied that the issue is complicated and needed detailed deliberations," he said.
"Modi in his Twitter posted details of the Kochi franchisee. On the basis of that the media pounced on him seeking to know to why he did not disclose details of the existing eight teams … The question is why Modi did not disclose this for three years when these eight team documents were available with him since 2007."