After a 40 minute interaction with the press on Monday, BCCI president Shashank Manohar said suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi perhaps had too much power in his hands. ``Unfortunately I have to say yes to that, Mr. Manohar said, when asked to comment in the light of the controversial events that have unfolded since April 14.
With regard to the GC meeting he added: "I never persuaded him (Mr.Modi) to attend the meeting because it is his choice. I had only asked him on April 19 to convene the meeting which he did not convene till April 21 and therefore I called up the Secretary and asked him to convene the meeting. Thereafter I had no discussions with him.’’
He also said that the the BCCI does not have the original document of the Sony broadcasting deal. "The income tax authorities are asking for it, but we can’t supply it because we don’t have it. All the documents of the execution are with Lalit Modi."
Excerpts from press conference:
Autonomy of the BCCI : I don’t think the autonomy of the BCCI is threatened because allegations and counter allegations are made. It’s the duty of the BCCI to look into all the allegations. Now to have a free and fair enquiry it is necessary to suspend a person so that there is no interference during the course of enquiry. Suspension is not a punishment. But for a free and fair enquiry to be conducted, the person is kept away from the functioning of the BCCI or an institution.
Can the BCCI be more professional: Basically I don’t understand what is the concept of professionalising an institution. Everyone here (BCCI) works as honorary members and don’t charge anything. With regard to the IPL, it’s a huge and valuable property. Therefore we appointed professionals like the IMG who conduct tournaments like the Wimbledon and FIFA. We are paying them Rs. 27 crore for all operational things. Now it is the duty of the IMG to look after the professional things and the normal functioning of IPL games. We also appointed a professional CEO Sundar Raman for the IPL who is also paid a huge salary. We have a separate staff for IPL.
Whether the IPL GC has been a party to all decisions: Allegations are being made and the media is saying all the members of the GC are party to all the decisions. Now most of the contracts which are entered into have been entered into without the consent of the GC or they’ve been brought to the GC after the contract was signed. So the GC has no other option and are presented with a fait accompli.
I can give you a small example. I came here three days in advance to look into all the documents and contracts in view of the ongoing controversy. I called Mr. Sundar Raman on the day there was the IPL awards function. I asked for the contract of that function and I was told "Sir, there was no contract. The contract was finalised yesterday night.’’ And this he informs me at 3 in the afternoon when the function was going to be held at 7 in the evening. Thereafter, if this issue comes before the GC, what do you expect it (GC) to do? Do you expect the GC to say that "No, we reject this contract and we’re going to cancel this function‘’ when the function is already over.
Trust on Lalit Modi: Basically a public organisation functions on trust because each and every person can’t go and check every aspect or each and every document. There are huge companies which are run by people and those people, once a decision is approved, don’t go and look at the document, whether it is properly executed or not. It is the job of the professionals and the executives who are appointed by the institution to do that job. There is no question of failure on the part of the GC because a professional set-up was appointed.
The chargesheet on Modi: The charges basically are with regard to the initial bids of Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, broadcasting deal with MSM/WSG, bid rigging of the two new franchisees, internet rights and the behavourial pattern of Mr. Modi.
(For example there is an allegation that a facilitation fee was paid (to WSG in 2009). But the BCCI does not have the document. Now this deal happened between MSM, Singapore and WSG, Mauritius. So there is no reason why this document would be present with the BCCI. So since, I don’t have this document with me, I don’t see any reason why we should be aware of this. Now with Rajasthan Royals, people are saying there is benami funding in the franchise. So if the funds are coming from Mauritius or 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 the IT and ED are investigating into these matters and when they gave us the notice, only then we became aware of it.)
Whether the contracts will be terminated: I am not an astrologer to guess whether there is something wrong with the deals with regards to the broadcaster or the internet. So I cannot cancel a deal unless and until something suspicious is found in those deals. Now for that purpose, whatever enquiry is required, it will be held. The IPL staff cannot be sacked because something wrong has happened, and unless and until the responsibility is fixed on somebody you don’t throw out your staff.
More transparency in IPL: Today is the first day when all of us have met. So give us some time. I don’t prepare the plans because as per the constitution, what has happened is that one person was making all the plans. Under the constitution of the BCCI all decisions have to be taken by the GC with majority. So even if there is a plan it will have to be discussed in the GC.
Modi’s warning on the Twitter that he would expose individuals: The BCCI is not at all worried about this. If there are other people who are guilty we will sack them and take the same action against them.
Not attending the final yesterday: Did you see me at the finals in the first two years? In Nagpur I had gone for one match to visit my friend Mr. Modi and another match to meet Mr Srinivasan.
Behavioral pattern of Mr. Modi: I am referring to the confidential information of the BCCI being leaked to the media. I have always maintained that the BCCI 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.
Behavioral pattern of Sundar Raman (especially with former cricketer Sunil Walson in New Delhi): They behaved like their superior.
Political interference in the BCCI: I don’t think there’s any political pressure and I can assure you that as far as I’m concerned, there’s no political pressure which can influence my decisions.
N. Srinivasan’s (Chennai Super Kings) conflict of interest, being in part of the BCCI: Mr Srinivasan officially sought permission from the then President Mr. Pawar to give a bid. After the bid was accepted, all the bids came for approval before the AGM and it unanimously approved the bids. Now Mr. Srinivasan is not a majority shareholder in India Cements.
Today the media is saying that this is being challenged in the Supreme Court; but this issue was raised by Mr. A.C Muthiah in the Madras High Court in 2008 after he was defeated by Mr. Srinivasan in the Presidential elections of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. He lost the case before the single judge, he lost before a division bench in appeal, and now he’s in appeal before the Supreme Court. So there’s nothing new in what’s happening, this has happened three years ago.
The status of the Kochi franchisee: That’s been accepted and the document is signed. And we’re not concerned if they give sweat equity to someone or not. That’s their problem; they can give hundred percent as sweat equity.
Poorna Patel (Praful Patel’s daughter) and Pawar’s family: Those allegations, to the best of my knowledge, are incorrect. There was no involvement of any of the famly members of Mr. Pawar even in the earlier bids because the bid documents are here. The bid documents have also taken by the IT Department.
Kochi and Pune Franchise: 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 which the governing council took a decision to cancel that tender. As far the two new bids are concerned there is not irregularity as far as the BCCI is concerned. There was a complaint made by the Kochi franchise that they were arm twisted by Mr. Modi to surrender their rights in favour of somebody else.