New Delhi: Lalit Modi’s defence team has asked for recusal of Arun Jaitley, one of the three members of a BCCI disciplinary committee probing his role in the alleged "misdemeanours” in the IPL, even as the suspended IPL chairman is likely to face the panel soon.
Modi’s legal team says it has now discovered that Jaitley was the first complainant in the Kochi franchise controversy, in which Modi figured prominently, and therefore he cannot be a part of the disciplinary committee.
The defence also contends that the statements of the BCCI witnesses, who appeared before the disciplinary committee, have not been confirmed by way of e-mails. It has also charged that often not all three members of disciplinary committee have attended meetings in person while the others attended through video link or face time.
Modi’s defence team also fears that the BCCI would prematurely conclude the inquiry, possibly this month. If that happens, it would not give enough opportunity to Modi and his witnesses to tell their side of the story.
"Lalit Modi is likely to file his statement very shortly, and then he will offer himself for cross examination via video link from London as the facility was offered to other BCCI witnesses,” Mehmood M. Abdi, constituted attorney of Modi, told Mail Today. Mail Today repeatedly tried to contact Jaitley, but someone at his residence said he was not available.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar suspended Modi, the then IPL GC chairman, on April 25, 2010, under Rule 32 (iv) of the BCCI constitution, for his alleged acts of "individual misdemeanours” in the IPL. He slapped Modi with show cause notices, which the latter has replied. Modi has since been living in London as he fears threat to his life in India.
The BCCI’s three-member disciplinary committee comprised BCCI president Manohar, Chirayu Amin, and Jaitley. But on Modi’s request Manohar recused himself, and Jyotiraditya Scindia replaced him.
"Suddenly, the BCCI disciplinary committee has set up an arbitrary timeline and has declared that it will conclude its proceedings by April 24, 2013, whereas we have orally, as well as in writing, conveyed to them that our witnesses are not yet through,” Abdi said. "Mr Modi will be our last witness, as this procedure is followed in inquiries everywhere else.”
He alleged that the BCCI witnesses’ appearances have consumed a lot of time and now the committee "intends to wind up proceedings”.
"There have been 77 sittings of the disciplinary committee and only three Modi witnesses have appeared so far,” he said. "If the inquiry is concluded prematurely, Mr Modi wouldn’t be able to put up his case for lack of opportunity, and the illegal manner in which the proceedings are recorded and the records are maintained is going to cause prejudice to his cause.”
Abdi contended that since they have now discovered that Jaitley was the first complainant in the Kochi IPL franchise controversy, he can’t sit in judgement.
The Kochi franchise was scrapped due to multiple reasons.
It also alleged that Modi had been pressuring it to sell off the franchise for a compensation of $ 50 million, but when it declined the IPL chairman allegedly threatened its officials.
According to documents, Jaitley is said to have admitted that someone connected with Kochi met him at his residence.
"Sometime in the month of April 2010, a person claiming to be a banker and associated with the Kochi franchise (whose name I do not remember) came to my residence at Kailash Colony, New Delhi. He came at a period when I fix public appointments. He expressed apprehensions about undue delay in executing the agreements in relation to Kochi franchise even though it was successful bidder,” Jaitley is quoted as saying in a document of the BCCI disciplinary committee.
"I informed him that I do not have the authority to deal with such a issues and that he may contact Mr Shashank Manohar, the then president, BCCI, who was competent to take an appropriate view on the subject.
"I telephonically informed the BCCI president about this incident. I’ve absolutely no connection or interest, direct or indirect, with the Kochi franchise. Neither have I contributed, in any manner, in the issuance of the show cause notices to Mr Modi,” he said.
According the minutes of the IPL GC meeting, held on June 25, 2010, Manohar informed the house that "Jaitley called him up to convey the apprehensions expressed by the Kochi franchise, viz. Rendezvous Sports World...”
Modi’s defence has alleged that Jaitley was the 'first’ complainant in IPL Kochi case.
THE BCCI PROBE SAGA
- BCCI disciplinary committee began proceedings against Modi on July 16, 2010, after he was suspended on April 25, 2010
- Seven BCCI witnesses were cross examined between September 7, 2010, and May 4, 2012
- Modi’s turn to provide witnesses first came this January 22 and since then three people have appeared before the panel.