Lalit Modi, the chairman of the Indian Premier League (IPL), on Sunday refuted the allegation of misappropriation of funds made by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), calling it "meaningless" and "flimsy".
Modi, who is also the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), told IANS that the Rajasthan police have gone out of their way to entertain the complaint and then file the FIR, "knowing fully well that the charge was meaningless."
"It is nothing but vindictiveness on the part of the police," he added.
"Basically, it was the goodwill and kind gesture of the IPL teams, franchisees and sponsors that they had pledged Rs.60 million (Rs.6 crore) and a dummy cheque was presented on the night of the game to the chief minister. Out of which, cheques to the tune of Rs.5.2 crore (Rs.52 million) have been sent directly to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund and only two sponsors have not been able to send the pledged amount," said Modi.
Modi said the dummy cheque had the logos of the franchisees and sponsors and their signatures on it.
"A pity, instead of appreciating the gesture, the government is hounding the RCA officials, me in particular. Strictly speaking, I don't come into the picture. It is a matter between the people who have pledged the amount and the state government which received the amount directly."
Moreover, Modi said, if someone pledged something and did not fulfill, it did not become a liability or misappropriation of funds.
"In any case, more than 90 percent of the pledged sum has been realised, and if even after that cases are being filed, it means it is nothing but vindictiveness on the part of the police," he added.
"It is a flimsy complaint and the police has taken cognisance of it."
The FIR against Modi has been filed under Sections 420 (cheating) and 467 (forgery of valuable security) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Jyoti Nagar police station in Jaipur.
"Nagrik Morcha has filed an FIR under section 420 and section 467 of the IPC against Modi with us on Sunday," sub-inspector Netram Sharma of Jyoti Nagar police station told IANS.
Morcha convener Suresh Mishra, in his complaint, stated that soon after the serial bomb blasts rocked Jaipur May 13, 2008, Modi announced that the IPL would deposit Rs.60 million in the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for victims of the bomb blasts.
"After an IPL match was held here May 17, 2008, Modi presented a cheque for Rs.60 million to then chief minister Vasundhara Raje. According to our information, this amount never reached the victims. We want to know where this money has gone. We want this to be probed," Mishra said.