Lalit Modi, the suspended chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has tossed the ball back into the cricket board's court by seeking a pile of documents to firm up his answers to the charges slapped on him.
Modi, who was to appear in person at the headquarters of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai Monday with his voluminous reply, asked for a five-day extension and Board chief Shashank Manohar readily acceded.
A Board source said Modi in his e-mail on Sunday evening to Board secretary N Srinivasan stated he did not receive certain key documents he had asked for in his May 3 e-mail to him, if the Board intends to rely on those to use against him.
Modi, by inference, questioned the Board basing the charges on unsubstantiated allegations, complaints and innuendos like the Kochi agreement being signed only after a directive from the Board chief, some of the deals being finalised without the knowledge of the IPL Governing Council and his holding proxy stakes in three IPL franchisees.
He also referred to a broadspectrum charge that the BCCI chief has been receiving messages and requests from senior office-bearers, highly reputed public figures and renowned players expressing their anguish over the loss of image of the Board and the game.
Modi said in his e-mail that the Board should furnish all the documents he had asked for or state in writing that except the documents supplied to him through e-mails of April 27 and May 7, no other document or material will be relied upon or used against him.
"I refer to the previous correspondence. By my e-mail dated 3rd May 2010, I had requested that with a view to ensuring that I have a fair opportunity of responding to the allegations in the Show Cause NoticeI be provided with copies of all material which you intend to rely upon and use against me," Modi said in his Sunday e-mail which is in possession of IANS.
As Modi and his detractors in the Board continued their war of words, exchanging e-mails and documents, and it is clear both are waiting to see who blinks first.
After Manohar acceded to Modi's request for the extension, another official saw the move as "dilatory tactics" by the suspended IPL boss. A Modi camper retorted: How could you ask anyone to defend himself by tying both his hands at the back?"
"The Board may think any wild allegation will stick to Modi without realising that there are certain norms to be followed if one has to be given a fair trial whatever be the ultimate outcome," a state unit secetary, who feels that thanks to Modi all associations have immnsely benefited financially, told IANS.
Referring to Srinivasan's earlier e-mail, Modi wrote: "By your reply dated 6th May 2010, you forwarded to me documents described in the list attached thereto. However, you also stated that: 'If there is any other specific document that you still require and you feel it is in our possession, please let us know with regard to the same so that an adequate response to your request can be given.'"
Modi said after going through the documents running into hundreds of pages, he found that several vital documents referred to in the charges were missing.
Listing some of the charges point by point, Modi asked Srinivasan to provide him the documents which were referred to in the showcause notice.
Some of the issues Modi raised in his e-mail:
* The showcause notice stated that "several contracts have been executed by me as the chairman of IPL either without the authority of the Governing Council of IPL or which have not been brought to the knowledge of the Governing Council" but no copies of the agreements were provided.
* The charge that "the President, BCCI, has been receiving messages and requests from Senior Office-Bearers, Committee Members, highly reputed public figures, renowned players and senior functionaries in the last few days expressing their anguish and concern at how the image of BCCI and in turn the game itself is being tarnished in the public eye due to my statements and alleged misdeeds," is not substantiated as there are no copies of the messages or proof of requests.
* If any written record of the consultation exists, please provide me with the same.
* The showcause states that "reports suggest that I have proxy stake in 3 franchisees of IPL," but there are no copies of such reports.
* Reference to "Register of Members of Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt.Ltd."
Copies of proof needed
* It is stated that "details have been gathered from documents apparently submitted by the franchisee subsequent to the agreement." No copies of such documents provided.
* "It has been brought to the notice of BCCI that subtle messages were sent to corporate entities that they were unwelcome to bid." No names or copies of messages provided.
* It has been stated that contract with Kochi agreement had to be signed under a directive of the BCCI President. No copies of the written directive exist in the documents received.
* It has been stated that the "MOU with LCM dealt with rights already committed to Nimbus with whom BCCI has an ongoing contract". Copies of the agreement between Nimbus and BCCI not given.
* Referrence to an "objection raised by Nimbus." If the objection is in writing, the copy and the BCCI's response have not been provided.
Modi on Saturday sent across through his lawyer the first lot of documents, though the Board's Chief Administrative Office Ratnakar Shetty stated that not all the documents were returned.