The BCCI Disciplinary Committee on Friday acceded to the request of the suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi that he be represented by his lawyers during the inquiry into the charges levelled against him in the three show-cause notices served on him from April 26.
At its first meeting at the Cricket Centre here, the Committee — comprising Arun Jaitley, Chirayu Amin and Jyotiraditya Scindia — also allowed the Board of Control for Cricket in India to engage a lawyer. The Committee said it would like a response from the BCCI on Mr. Modi's request for the recusal of Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Amin from the panel.
At the meeting, Mr. Modi was represented by his attorney Memmood M. Abdi and lawyer Venkatesh Dhond.
A statement from the Committee said: “Since we are allowing Mr. Modi to be represented by a lawyer, it would be fair and proper to permit the BCCI also to be represented through their lawyer and its authorised representative in the same manner as Mr. Modi has been permitted.” The next meeting would be held in New Delhi on July 27.
The BCCI's Memorandum, Rules and Regulations does not allow representation through lawyers, but the Committee made an exception on Friday and saw “substantial merit” in the specific request from Mr. Modi's lawyer-representatives.
“Ordinarily, the BCCI has, in the past, required persons against whom the enquiry is conducted to be present in person. However, Mr. Dhond, advocate appearing for Mr. Modi, along with Mr. Abdi and his colleagues, submitted that the allegations against Mr. Modi are of a serious nature, complex legal issues are involved particularly in relation to interpretation of the contract documents,” the statement said.
“He [Mr. Modi] has further submitted that one of the members [Mr. Jaitley] of the Disciplinary Committee is a person with a legal background. There are complex issues relating to interpretation of documents involved. Additionally, we feel that the outcome of the disciplinary enquiry impinges on the reputation of the person against whom the enquiry is being held. In view of the complex nature of certain issues involved, interpretation of documents required, and additionally that one of us on the committee has a legal background, we feel that it would be just and fair that Mr. Modi be allowed to be represented through a lawyer in the enquiry. We have informed Mr. Dhond and Mr. Abdi that the Disciplinary Committee may require to question Mr. Modi in person.”
Mr. Dhond and Mr. Abdi told the Committee that they had no instructions whether Mr. Modi would be able to attend the meetings as and when required.
The statement also said that the Committee heard Mr. Dhond on the pleas raised (vide letters dated May 25 and July 6) with regard to the recusal of the members of the panel.
“We would like a response from the BCCI on the said letters. Mr. Dhond wanted to file some additional plea in this regard to substantiate his [Mr. Modi's] request for recusal of members. It has been decided that the supplementary plea may be filed by Mr. Modi before July 18.”
On Thursday, the Bombay High Court rejected Mr. Modi's petition for relief and cleared the decks for the start of the Disciplinary Committee meeting.