Three-member panel, led by the current finance minister, had indicted the former IPL commissioner for favouring Adani Group.

On September 25, 2013, Lalit Modi was expelled for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) following a unanimous decision by a specially-called general body meeting in Chennai. The decision was arrived at after a three-member disciplinary committee, led by Arun Jaitley, meticulously inquired into his acts of omissions and commissions, for three years.

The 140-page inquiry report, compiled by Jaitley, along with Jyotiraditya Scinida and Chirayu Amin, found him guilty on many counts but chiefly for favouring the Adani Group of industries.

The specific charge against Modi was bid-rigging and the Jaitley report, submitted on June 10, 2013, outlines the way the then chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) allegedly tried to rig the bid for two new teams, which were to be auctioned. Modi, then undisputed czar of the league, apparently introduced two ‘onerous’ clauses to “restrict the bidding process and favour the Videocon and Adani Groups.” The Videocon bid, it was often alleged, had the backing of Sharad Pawar.

Videocon and Adani never managed to win the teams but it was not surely for lack of effort by Modi. At least that is what the overall impression one gathers from the exhaustive report.

“In view of the aforesaid discussion, we are of the view that the charge of misconduct against Mr Modi is proved on this count as he inserted onerous and unreasonable clauses in the draft of ITT (Invitation To Tender) that was approved by the Governing Council (of the IPL). While incorporating such conditions, Modi did not seek the approval of the Governing Council. The object of such unreasonable conditions was to exclude healthy competition and favour two bidders which is evident from the fact that only two bids were received pursuant to the ITT.”

According to the report, the two “onerous” conditions were namely “(a) the bidder should have a net worth of US$ 1 billion and (b) has to give a bank guarantee of Rs 460 crores.” It has been contended throughout the report that Modi tried to not only help Adani and Videocon but went out of the way to keep parties like Sahara and Dainik Jagaran groups.

In BCCI’S interest

Modi, while claiming that he introduced those clauses “after seeking the approval of the president (Shashank Manohar), defended his act on the grounds that the clauses were in the interest of the BCCI. But the committee rejected his defence stating, “If he thought that these clauses were in the interest of the BCCI, he ought to have sought the permission of the Governing Council before publishing the final ITT. Admittedly, no permission… was sought.”

Somewhere, the report notes the complaint of Sahara, who “pay the BCCI Rs 500 crores per annum, have deliberately been kept out of the tendering process due to some of the above conditions and they have written to him (BCCI president) saying if they were good enough to pay Rs 500 crores, how can they not be worthy enough to pay Rs 150 crores ($30 million) a year even if they were to have bid $ 300 million.” It may be noted here that 10 per cent of the bid amount is paid by the franchise every year to the BCCI.

Among others, the Jaitley committee relied on the deposition of Peter Griffiths (Witness No 1) of IMG, John Loffhagen (witness No 2), a lawyer of the IMG and Sundar Raman (Witness No 4), the COO of the IPL.

After an aborted bidding process for two new teams on March 7, 2010 in which the two favoured groups of Modi were in contention, Sahara and Shashi Tharoor-backed Rendezvous went on to get the teams in a fresh auction in Chennai on March 21, 2010.

Modi was also indicted for charging facilitation fee from IPL broadcaster Sony.


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