BCCI gets relief in Lalit Modi case
The Bombay high court allowed its representative to remain present when ex-IPL chairman Lalit Modi’s lawyers cross-examine their ex-employees and former office-bearers in front of the ED.mumbai Updated: Mar 01, 2018 00:28 IST
In a relief for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday allowed its representative to remain present when ex-IPL chairman Lalit Modi’s lawyers cross-examine their ex-employees and former office-bearers in front of the enforcement directorate (ED).
A division bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice PD Naik, however, kept the issue of the BCCI’s right to cross-examine its ex-employees and former office-bearers, whose statements the ED has relied upon during the proceedings against Modi, pending.
The ED had initiated proceedings against Modi and others in connection with the 2009 edition of the T-20 tournament in South Africa, after it was found that they had purportedly contravened section 3(b) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 by transferring sum of 4.98 crore USD or Rs243.45 crore to Cricket South Africa without prior permission of the RBI.
The witnesses are scheduled to be cross-examined by Modi’s lawyers from March 1.
The BCCI approached the HC complaining that an assistant director of the ED had informed it that it cannot even remain present during cross-examination of the witnesses.
Senior advocate Rafiq Dada, who represented the BCCI, submitted that all witnesses, who are being cross-examined, are either ex-employees or former office-bearers of the BCCI and the proceeding is in connection with a BCCI transaction, but “we are not allowed even to remain present.” “We are entitled to know at least what is going on there,” said Dada.
Pointing out that the present administrators of the BCCI are functioning under orders of the Apex Court, Dada said the cricketing body will have to face grave prejudice if it is ordered to pay penalty after adjudication.
The judges retorted saying the administrators need not be bothered about the proceedings, as they are no way connected with the subject matter. They said even if penalty is imposed on the BCCI, it can pay the same and recover the amount later from its erring ex-employees and / or office-bearers. “Otherwise, the stern message that is required to be sent will not go,” the bench said.
The judges felt that nothing will be achieved by allowing the BCCI to cross-examine the witnesses and kept the issue pending.
The BCCI’s petition is now posted on March 12 for further hearing.