Supreme Court Gives Relief To BCCI In WSG Battle

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BCCI’s Decision To Sack Lalit Modi Stands Vindicated:

The 11-year drama that began with the ouster of former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi in 2010 over a highly contentious issue concerning the league’s broadcasting rights for the rest of the world (ROW) markets, and looked never-ending, has finally ended, leaving the stand of the BCCI and its former secretary N Srinivasan vindicated.

On Monday, the Supreme Court arbitral tribunal led by three retired judges—Sujatha Manohar, Mukunthakam Sharma and S.S. Nijjar—-confirmed the termination of the ROW Media Rights Agreement with WSG by BCCI in June 2010, thus giving way to two significant clarifications:

(a) The money in the escrow account that was part of the rights agreement between BCCI and WSG, along with interest on seven out of the 10-year deal (approximately Rs 800 cr) will now have to be charged in full to the BCCI;

(b) the decision to delete Modi, and its opinion that the latter’s agreement with WSG back then was extremely libelous and contentious, has been upheld by the court of law.

The development brings to a close a story first broken by a media house on April 20 , 2010, which read: Top Board officials said that far from approving such an agreement, the BCCI, the IPL Board of Directors and the eight franchises had absolutely no hint of this facilitation agreement, as Modi was the only one to deal with the matter. The net result, the sources pointed out, was that almost Rs 400 crore (Rs 425 cr in actuality) had been siphoned off the BCCI / IPL coffers and had gone into the pockets of a middle man.

The BCCI, led by then-Secretary N Srinivasan and its CEO Sundar Raman, had been at the forefront of these problems. Aided by senior Supreme Court lawyer P Raghu Raman, who had been advising the cricket board on all matters, Srinivasan and Raman took a strong stand not to allow the agreement to take effect, expelling Modi from BCCI. Their stance has remained vindicated.

“It is the result of BCCI ‘s courage of conviction back then that led to this. It is Srinivasan who put his foot down and challenged this move on the part of Modi and his actions were proved right by the highest court of law. He saved the BCCI close to Rs 300 crore then and today, with interest accrued-which is BCCI ‘s money-the Board comes back close to Rs 800 crore,” BCCI’s Supreme Court counsel back then, P Raghu Raman told a leading media house.

Meanwhile, the WSG has lost on all fronts in IPL-related matters, including the one concerning the extremely contentious USD 80 m facilitation fee concerning Sony Pictures (won by Sony) in the past.

“Modi’s whole plan was to transfer the entire financial muscle of the league out of the country in exchange for a reward. The whole deal, mysterious right from the outset, included about Rs 425 crore. It was Srinivasan who put his foot down and made sure that Rs 300 crore of that money returned to the BCCI while Rs 125 crore, part of the facilitation fee, was paid back to Sony, which is now due to BCCI” said Raman.

The high-ranking Supreme Court lawyer adds that the order, which is binding and enforceable between the parties, puts an end to the scandal on the part of the said perpetrators, which was ‘largely fraudulent.’

“Now that the binding arbitration award clearly indicated the fraudulent behavior of Modi and others in the WSG community, the police complaint lodged by BCCI to prosecute certain persons at least at this point should be dealt with,” added Raman.


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