"The events of the last few days have thrown up lot of sad and unfortunate developments. While we rejoice and celebrate the great success of IPL Season 3, the alleged acts of individual misdemeanours of Lalit K Modi, Chairman IPL and Vice President BCCI have brought a bad name to the administration of Cricket and the game itself.
"I have waited for the IPL 3 – 2010 to conclude in order to respond to the situation as I did not want the event to be disrupted in any manner.
"Immediately after the conclusion of the IPL final, the Secretary, BCCI, N Srinivasan has in consultation with me issued a show cause notice to Lalit K Modi under Rule 32 (iv) calling upon him to show cause within 15 days why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
"Simultaneously in exercise of the powers vested in me under Rule 32 (vii), I have suspended Lalit K Modi from participating in the affairs of the Board, the IPL, the Working Committee and any other Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India."
In the IPL Governing Council meeting, to discuss the 34-page letter stating 22 charges of impropriety which were served to Modi along with the above suspension notice, sources confirm that out of the 12 members present, only Punjab Cricket Association president IS Bindra defended Modi and repeatedly questioned his suspension. Sunil Gavaskar, seen as another Modi sympathiser, did not voice his opinion. Mansoor Ali Khan "Tiger" Pataudi, sources said, raised complicated negotiation of the telecast rights for IPL matches. It is alleged that as much as 80-million-dollar facilitation fee was paid by Multi-Screen Media (MSM) to World Sports Group (WSG) for these telecast rights. BCCI president Shashank Manohar led the charge against Lalit Modi. BCCI secretary N Srinivasan and Delhi cricket association chief Arun Jaitley agreed that charges against Modi were non-negotiable whereas IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah went along.
Following is the text of the statement by the BCCI chief after the IPL Governing Council meetin
IPL is a great property and is loved by all across the globe. The commercial aspect of such an event is an important thing. However, ethics and transparency are more important. But since the last 15 days there were lot of allegations and counter allegations made thru media as a result of which the board looked into the allegations levelled and took a decision to issue a show cause notice to Lalit Modi, pending an enquiry, decided to suspend him.
But as the tournament was on we never wanted the tournament to be disrupted or any problems created in the tournament. The show cause notice was sent only after the presentation ceremony was over. And thereafter Mr Modi was suspended. After receiving a reply from Mr Modi, the board will hold an enquiry into the matter if necessary. Or if the reply of Mr Modi convinces the members, the proceedings will be dropped.
Today an emergency governing council meeting was called and this meeting was scheduled for today because we didn't want the tournament to be disrupted or disturbed by any of the actions of the board because the IPL is a valuable property of the board. In today's meeting, the chargesheet was discussed as also the committee unanimously appointed Chirayu Amin as the interim chairman of the committee.
We've also asked Prof Ratnakar Shetty to look into all the records because many of the documents are missing from the office of the IPL and the board. Everyday the income tax department is asking for the documents but we don't have them in our custody. Therefore, we have asked Prof Shetty to look into all these aspects of documents and we've taken a further decision to go further ahead with regards to the tournament for the year 2011.
The committee appointed Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and MAK Pataudi to discuss and decide with regards to the modalities of withholding three foreign cricketers and four Indian cricketers. After discussing the issue with the franchisees, they've been asked to come back to the board so that a final decision in this regard can be taken.
The governing council will meet after a month, sometime in June after all the preliminary things are done because most of the members of the governing council were unaware of the things happening. This is all I have to tell you today.
The BCCI president also fielded questions from journalists. Excerpts from his media-interaction:
On Lalit Modi
While there are supposed to be as many as 22 charges of impropriety, the BCCI president broadly divided them into five categories:
- the initial bids of Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab.
- the second allegation is in regards to the broadcasting deal
- the third allegation is with regards to the bid-rigging of the two new franchisees.
- the fourth allegation is with regards to the internet rights.
- the fifth is with regards to the behavioural pattern of Modi
Manohar said that the chargesheet against Modi does not have any allegations of betting and match fixing and also denied the formation of an inquiry committee to look into the accusations:
"It is the duty of the Board to look into the allegations and to have an inquiry it is important to suspend the person concerned. It's not punishment. The person has to be kept out of the Board's functioning to ensure a free and fair inquiry.
"Lalit Modi has to reply within 15 days. The Board would hold an inquiry and if Modi's reply convinces the members, proceedings would be dropped."
Manohar said there are different provisions in the Board's constitution for issuing show cause and suspension.
"There are two provisions: 32 (ii) where you have to appoint a commissioner who prepares a report and based on that report we issue a show cause notice followed by an enquiry. The other one 32 (iv) is specifically for administrators and members where a show cause can be noticed and under 32 (vii) there is a provision to suspend an individual."
Governing Council Not Party to Most Decisions
Manohar, insisting that the Governing Council was not even aware of Modi's modus operandi, claimed that the most public faces of Rajasthan Royals, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra, don't even figure in the shareholding papers.
"We are asking Modi, how can he sign an agreement with A when the bid came from B. Modi made a statement that the entire world knows who the shareholders are but the fact is that not even the Governing Council members know about Rajasthan Royals. I did not find the names of Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra in the papers and they claim to be stakeholders"
On whether the Governing Council shares the blame
Manohar said the whole system worked on faith and he could not be held responsible for entrusting Modi with the job.
"We are ex-officio members of the Governing Council and institutions work on trust. If I were take care of everything, why would I need a secretary? There is no question of failure of Governing Council. There is a totally professional set up to run IPL...
"In any public organization, the organization functions on trust. Each and every person can't go and look into each and every document in the organization. If you are expecting all members of the Governing Council to come here from 10 am till 10 pm each day, then we don't need the other staff...
"When I don't have the documents about the benami funds in Rajasthan Royals, how can I say anything? If the funds come from say Virgin Island or Mauritius, I don't have the documents to probe. In fact I got to know of all this only after getting the Income Tax notices."
On whether the Board was worried about Modi's threats
Lalit Modi had warned yesterday that he would expose those who sought to bring "disrepute to the game". Manohar, when asked, said there was no concern.
The BCCI is not worried. If there are other others guilty, we will sack them and take the same action... No inquiry committee has been formed since no committee is required. All decisions have to be taken by the Governing Council and that is the committee. If people are guilty we will sack them
No transaction fee from Rajasthan Royals or King's XI Punjab
The BCCI chief said the board is yet to receive its due share of five per cent as transaction fee for transfer of shares by IPL franchisees Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab. He pointed out that Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra, who were sold 12.5 per cent of Rajasthan Royals franchise stakes by the original owners -- Emerging Media of United Kingdom -- are not named as share holders in the documents available with the Board.
The Board was also awaiting a similar fee from the Kings XI Punjab franchisees as Bollywood star Preity Zinta, a current stakeholder, was not holding a single share when the bid for the Mohali franchise was successfully made by her and subsequently got some shares in the team, Manohar said. In both these cases neither the permission of the IPL Governing Council was taken as required nor was the BCCI paid its due share of five per cent transaction fee, he said.
"There was a company based in UK by the name of Emerging Media IPL. The company was owned by a single individual Manoj Badale. The company started four months earlier to the bid. His bid was accepted. However the agreement is signed with Jaipur IPL."
Manohar also said that the agreement was signed by two other persons who were not part of the original bid.
"There is an interesting fact to be noted; this is a company wherein there were only two stakeholders at the time the agreement was signed. The two stakeholders were one Mr (Fraser) Castellino and Bal Thakur.
"Now the bid is given by A, the document signed by B, who had nothing to do with the bid. Then separate companies have come in who are registered in Mauritius."
Manohar said none of the other IPL Governing Council members were aware of these things.
"Mr Modi made a statement that the entire world knows (who the stakeholders) of these franchises are. But even the members of the Governing Council were unaware of it.
"In the Rajasthan Royal franchise, the Jaipur IPL is the main company. Their shares are then sold and transferred to certain individuals and companies like Tresco and Blue Waters. Nobody knows what is Blue Waters and what is Tresco.
"Now, I did not find in the shareholders' register the names of Mr Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, who claim to be the stakeholders."
On King's XI Punjab
About the KXIP shares owned by Preity Zinta, Manohar said that she bid successfully for Mohali as a sole bidder with the promise that she would form a consortium but when the agreement was signed she did not have a single share in the franchisee.
"When the bids were given, it was signed only by Preity Zinta. She said she will form a consortium with three people Mohit Burman, one Mr (Karan) Paul and one other name. When the franchise agreement was signed by her she did not have a single share in that company. The shares were transferred to her after signing of the agreement"
"Then Mr Gaurav Burman gets in and the rest. Again the same logic applied; you need to have the consent of the IPL and the fee. But nothing once again happened," he said.
"And there is a clause in the agreement which is entered into with all the franchises that in case you transfer your shares, the transfer has to be made with the permission of the IPL and the board is entitled to have five percent of the amount of the transaction as their fees.
"Now nothing of this has happened. So we are asking an explanation if A gives the bid how do you sign agreement with B? How does all these people get into this? None of us are aware and we don't know who owns these companies."
On Rajasthan Royals
The BCCI chief said the Board was not aware whether any "benami" funds were parked with Rajasthan Royals franchise as it did not have the machinery to find out the source of the funds.
"Now, if you take Rajasthan Royals - people are saying there is benami funding in the franchise. So if the funds are coming from Mauritius or if the funds are coming from Virgin Islands, I do not have any machinery to find out where the funds are coming from. So I cannot see whose funds are coming from where... Now Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate are investigating these matters and when they gave us the notice, only then we became aware of it.
On the broadcasting deal
The BCCI chief said that as far as the charge that a facilitation fee was paid for the the broadcast deal, the board did not have any related document as it was a matter between a Singapore-based firm and another company in Mauritius.
"For example, there is an allegation that a facilitation fee was paid. But the Board does not have the document. Now this deal happened between MSM (Multi Screen Media), Singapore and WSG (World Sports Group), Mauritius. So there is no reason why this document would be present with the Board. Since I don't have this document with me, I don't see any reason why we should be aware of this."
"I am not an astrologer, I can't say about something that will happen in the future. I cannot suspend a deal until I get the details, which I don't have currently," he said...Board doesn't have any knowledge about the facilitation fee (the alleged kickback that Modi got) as we don't have the documents of the deal. Only one person used to make plans"
On Modi's 'behavioural pattern'
Accusing Modi of leaking confidential Board matters, Manohar said this was what he meant by ' behavioural pattern':
"(It means) Confidential information of the board being leaked to the media. I have always maintained this -- the Board functions within the four walls of this building. If you have to leak everything to the media then you might as well hold this meeting at the Oval ground"
On being asked about the behavioural pattern of IPL CEO Sundar Raman, Manohar's curt reply was: "They behaved like their superior."
Sundar Raman allegedly misbehaved with former cricketer Sunil Walson and released on his 'Twitter' page an official communication about Sachin Tendulkar instead of issuing a press release.
On the Kochi franchise
The BCCI President gave a clean chit to the successful bid by Rendezvous Sports World, which bagged the Kochi Indian Premier League franchise for USD 333 million and said the Board was not concerned whether the bid-winner gives away sweat equity or not.
"That's been accepted and document is signed. And we're not concerned if he (Rendezvous owner) gives sweat equity to someone or not. That's his problem, he can give 100 per cent as sweat equity"
Clean chit to the new franchises
Manohar also said there were no irregularities with regard to the two new IPL franchises -- Kochi and Pune (Sahara Adventure Group).
"There is no question of irregularities with regard to the two new franchises. Because of the bid conditions, which were unreasonable when the first tender was issued, the (IPL) Governing Council took a decision to cancel that tender. As far the two new bids are concerned there is no irregularity as far as far as the Board is concerned. There is a complaint made by Kochi franchise that they were arm-twisted by Modi to surrender their rights in favour of somebody else.
On political pressure
Manohar also emphatically brushed aside the charge that former Board president Sharad Pawar or his family members were involved with the new bids or bids for the earlier eight franchisees.
"Those allegations, to the best of my knowledge, are incorrect. There was no involvement of any of the family members of Pawar even in the earlier bids because the bid documents are here. The bid documents have also been taken by the I-T Department (for scrutiny).
I don't think there is any political pressure. I can assure you as far as I am concerned. Nobody can change my decision. Modi stands suspended from all posts -- as the BCCI vice president, member of the marketing committee, fixture committee and all the board activities"
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine