When they push him, will he jump? That’s the question on everyone’s mind as top officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) take on Lalit Modi in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council’s meeting on Monday.
That Modi won’t go out without a fight was made clear in his tweets over the week, but his strategy to combat the allegations against him stayed hidden even late into Sunday night.
The first hint of Modi’s intentions emerged when he, as IPL chairman and commissioner, called a GC meeting, at 10 am, in the BCCI’s offices at the Cricket Centre on Monday. Board secretary N Srinivasan had already called a meeting of the IPL’s GC at the same place and at the same time!
What this means is that Modi wants to set the agenda for his meeting while BCCI president Shashank Manohar, at whose behest Srinivasan called the meeting, will arrive with a separate agenda. Many GC members found it all very confusing.
Following Modi’s decision to attend, and the announcement of his own agenda, senior BCCI officials were looking at the possibility of suspending Modi.
Rule 32, Clause VII of the Board’s constitution states: states: “Pending enquiry and proceeding into complaints or charges of misconduct or any act of indiscipline or violation of any Rules and Regulations, the concerned administrator may be suspended by the president from participating in any of the affairs of the Board until final adjudication.
“I don't know what exactly is in the offing. For me, it’s just one meeting — same venue, same place, so let's see how it goes tomorrow morning,” a GC member told HT on Sunday.
But with both the secretary and the chairman of a sub-committee having convened a meeting of the same sub-committee, the big question is who will preside over the meeting.
While Modi has made it clear that he will be chairing the meeting, the anti-Modi faction will want anyone but Modi.
“Once we’re all present, we’ll have to elect someone to chair the meeting,” another source in the GC explained. If Modi gets to chair the meeting, it will lead to a tricky situation. Earlier, he had said he had no plans of attending the meeting called by Srinivasan as it was “unofficial”. It means, once in the chair, he may well choose not to deal with items on the agenda set by Srinivasan, and proceed instead with his own agenda.
The Modi-convened extra-ordinary meeting’s agenda lists “a discussion on any complaints received in writing from members of the Governing Council against the Chairman, other members of the Council and/or the Board of Control for Cricket in India.”
It further states that GC members should “give all such complaints in writing with the requisite supporting documents at the meeting … so they can be replied in full.” However, a GC member said that Modi's email to them had as agenda, clarification of ‘false allegations levelled against the Chairman’.
But a source said that Modi might bring up the “conflict of interest angle involving Srinivasan, who is both the owner of a team and Board secretary, as well as BCCI member Rajeev Shukla's alleged involvement in the proposal to set up an IPL-like league in the UAE”.
From the BCCI’s end, the agenda will be to “table the charges against the Chairman” and “decide on the way forward”, a source revealed.
Top officials of the BCCI have spent the last few days closeted in the BCCI's offices and have held informal meetings over the course of action they will take at the GC meeting.
In all, 13 of 14 members of the GC will surely attend the meeting. With Parliament having a crucial session on Monday, Farooq Abdullah has made it clear he will not attend.