Modi raises recusal issue with disciplinary panel
Mumbai: A day after his petition to reconstitute the Cricket Board’s Disciplinary Committee set up to hear charges against him was rejected by the Bombay High Court, suspended Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi raised the issue with the panel members on Friday.
Modi, represented at the first meeting of the BCCI’s three-member committee by his legal counsel Mehmood Abdi as he is abroad, raised the issue of recusal with the committee members.
“We had a cordial meeting and the issue of recusal was put forth. The members said it would be considered,” Abdi told reporters after the meeting.
Abdi also said that the next hearing by the committee would be held on July 27 at Delhi but refused to divulge any more details of what transpired today.
“We have come to a mutual understanding not to divulge details of the disciplinary commitee meetings with the media. The BCCI would put up the minutes of the meeting on their website,” he said.
Modi has demanded removal of two members of the committee - IPL’s interim chairman Chirayu Amin and Arun Jaitley - as he fears they would be biased against him during the disciplinary proceedings. The third member is Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Abdi, accompanied by three other lawyers, said before going into the meeting that his camp would raise the issue of recusal of Amin and Jaitley from the Committee.
“We are here to discuss the recusal issue as per the Bombay High Court order yesterday. We have not received a copy of the order yet. After receiving the copy we will take a decision about asking for a new date of hearing from the BCCI,” Abdi told reporters prior to the meeting.
Yesterday, the Bombay High Court refused to grant any relief to Modi and left the issue of reconstituting the disciplinary panel.
The division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and Roshan Dalvi dismissed Modi’s plea seeking reconstitution of the panel and cleared the deck for the disciplinary proceedings against him to commence.
However, the court also indicated that the final finding can be challenged by Modi and he can even raise the issue of constitution of the committee at that point.
Modi’s objection to the committee was that it would be biased against him and he had sought that the panel be made up of independent persons, preferably retired Supreme Court judges.
But the division bench said that as per the BCCI rules, “Disciplinary committee has limited powers....it is only required to enquire into charges and submit the final report to the board. The board is the final decision-making body.”
Modi’s lawyer Virag Tulzhapurkar said during the hearing of the petition that Amin had a “personal bias” against the suspended IPL chairman, whereas Jaitley was on the IPL governing council which “ratified” formation of committee.
“So the decision of the committee is a foregone conclusion,” he had argued.
But the court said that it was leaving the decision to these two persons whether they should withdraw from the panel on “moral grounds” and “it would not be proper for the court to interfere” now.
In his petition, Modi had sought suspension of the whole disciplinary proceedings.
But in view of his July 6 letter to the BCCI seeking reformation of the panel, court said that it would not consider other issues raised by him.