7/14/10

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court will Thursday pass the order on the petition filed by suspended IPL Chairman Lalit Modi challenging the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by the BCCI.

Modi's lawyer Virag Tulzhapurkar told the court on Wednesday that his client can't expect "impartial and honest" decision from disciplinary committee which will conduct enquiry against him.

The committee is going to meet on July 16 and has summoned Modi to appear. But Modi has sought an independent "outside" body for conducting inquiry instead of the present disciplinary panel of Arun Jaitley, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Chirayu Amin, IPL's interim Chairman.

"Decision of this committee is a foregone conclusion," said Tulzhapurkar.

He alleged that actions of BCCI secretary N Srinivasan "were actuated by bias against Modi", as the latter had made allegations against Srinivasan regarding having a stake in IPL franchise team Chennai Super Kings.

Similarly, Amin, a member of the committee and acting Chairman of IPL, too had a personal bias against Modi, said advocate Tulzhapurkar.

Even Jaitley should not be on the panel because he, along with Amin, was part of the IPL's governing council which "ratified" Srinivasan's opinion that there was prima facie evidence to initiate disciplinary inquiry against Modi, he said.

Its impossible to expect honest and impartial decision from the committee," Modi's lawyer said.

He also pointed out -- to emphasise that the BCCI has already made its mind in Modi's case -- that it scrapped the telecast rights' contract with Mauritius-based World Sport Group (WSG).

One of the allegations against Modi is that the tender process for the contract was questionable, he said.

Facilitation fee of $80 million (Rs 425 crore) paid by IPL's sub-continent broadcast rights holders MSM Satellite to WSG (Mauritius) had been termed as fraudulent by the BCCI.

However, when division bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Roshan Dalvi asked whether BCCI rules provide for an "independent" disciplinary committee, Modi's lawyer said that it was not so.

The lawyer for the BCCI, A Sundaram, argued that the High Court could not hear this petition as the BCCI was a society and this was an internal matter.

Modi was its member and he knew its rules, he said. Sundaram also said that the decision to initiate inquiry and constitute disciplinary committee was that of the general body and not the IPL governing council.

Reserving the order for Thursday, judges said that they would only consider whether the disciplinary committee should be re-constituted or not.

When one of the lawyers for BCCI said that Modi's allegations were "fanciful", Justice Marlapalle said, "In general the game of cricket has become fanciful", evoking laughter.