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Advantage Modi as Board backs down

N Srinivasan, BCCI secretary, seems to have decided to bring the very public e-mail exchanges with Lalit Modi to an end by assuring the suspended IPL chairman that he could reply only on the "basis of the facts and documents which have been referred to" him in the chargesheet and not any other material.

delhi Updated: May 13, 2010 19:59 IST

N Srinivasan, Indian cricket board secretary, seems to have decided to bring the very public e-mail exchanges with Lalit Modi to an end by assuring the suspended chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that he could reply only on the "basis of the facts and documents, which have been referred to" him in the chargesheet and not any other material.

Modi responded within minutes of receiving the e-mail on Thursday by thanking the Board secretary for agreeing that it would not use any material that has not been given to him.

"Thank you for confirming that the material already sent is the only material that you will be relying against me and that you don't rely on any further documents or materials as far as show cause notice is concerned."

Srinivasan in his latest mail stated that nothing other than the material the Board supplied to him would be used against him. He, however, added a proviso, that if Modi's reply was unsatisfactory and "if an inquiry by the Disciplinary Committee is considered necessary and any further documents/materials, if any, are relied upon, or become available to the inquiry, the same shall also be supplied to you."

Without going into the issues raised by Modi in his Wednesday's e-mail, Srinivasan went back to the Board's constitutional clause under which the president charge-sheeted him.

"BCCI is in receipt of your e-mail of 12th May, 2010. Your attention is drawn to Clause 32 (iv) of the Memorandum and the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI. Under the said rules, the secretary, in consultation with the BCCI president, will issue a notice for the alleged misconduct. Such a notice has been issued to you. The BCCI is awaiting your reply on or before 15th May, 2010."

Modi, who was to appear in person at Cricket Centre, the headquarters of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in Mumbai on Monday with his reply, sought a five-day extension and Board chief Shashank Manohar agreed to it.

Board members are watching the cat-and-mouse battle with curiousity and one state association secretary said the latest e-mail from Srinivasan is a bit of a climbdown as and makes it clear that the Board proceeded against Modi relying on market gossip, without substantial charges against him.

"It is being made increasingly clear that the Board relied mostly on the media reports and hearsay. Come to think of it, the Board is using its own leaks to charge-sheet the IPL chief," the official, not wanting to be named, told IANS.

"In a no-holds-barred war everything is fair and neither party can complain," said another Board member who blamed both Srinivasan and Modi for washing the dirty linen out in the open.

"At a time when the Board should be seriously worrying about India team's performance in the Twenty20 World up, the two officials are trying to undermine each other. The Board chief must put an end to these haggling which is only brining a bad name to the Indian Board," he told IANS.

Modi, who is now expected to submit his reply Saturday, has all through maintained that he did not receive key documents he had asked for in his May 3 e-mail to Srinivasan if the Board at all intended to rely on them.

Modi, by inference, questioned the Board basing the chargesheet on unsubstantiated allegations, complaints and innuendos like the Kochi agreement being signed only after a directive from the Board chief, some of the deals being finalised without the knowledge of the IPL Governing Council and his holding proxy stakes in three IPL franchises.

Modi also questioned the veracity of the information supplied by a "reliable source," saying the Board has come up with "fiction" to justify its charges against him, giving the information a "privileged and confidential" garb.

"You have declined to name the alleged 'reliable source' who allegedly orally communicated with the BCCI. You have sought to justify this by claiming that this oral communication was 'privileged and confidential.' This confirms my apprehension that there is no 'reliable source' and this is all fiction and the 'privilege and confidential' claim made is only to cover this up.

"Assuming (whilst denying) that this phantom 'reliable source' exists, the withholding of the name of the alleged 'reliable source,' for the reasons stated, is illegal and unjustified. This is also manifestly unfair. I cannot respond to the 'un-known' nor be condemned on the basis thereof. This alleged oral communication from the alleged 'reliable source' is required to be wholly excluded from consideration in these proceedings. Please confirm the same."