A day after the high profile player acquisition auction for Season XI of the Indian Premier League Season, the Bombay High Court in a separate matter has questioned did IPL really benefit cricket.
The Division Bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre on Tuesday had stated that the time had come for the Centre, RBI and the IPL to consider if conducting the tournament was in the interest of the sportsmen and cricket, national Daily Hindustan Times has reported.
“If IPL had let to violations, it his high time the organisers/administrators consider if what has been achieved in the conduct of the tournament can be termed as a gain, for they are full of illegalities and breaches of law,” the HT report has quoted the Bench as saying.
The Bench was hearing adjudication proceedings under provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, against former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi.
The proceedings reminded the Bench of the illegalities purportedly associated with the tournament. “IPL has made us familiar with phrases like betting and fixing of matches,” the Bench reportedly stated, adding the Centre, RBI and the organisers of matches would “take an appropriate call”.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Modi about the violations of the principles of natural justice in conducting adjudication proceedings against him by the Enforcement Directorate.
The ED has alleged violations of foreign exchange rules during the 2009 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) held in South Africa.
Young players only wanted to make money by playing in the popular T20 cricket league IPL and that it was “no more a clean entertainment” in view of alleged violations of foreign exchange rules, observed the court, adds PTI.
Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy, appearing for Modi, argued that his fundamental rights would be violated if he was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.
The court asked additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who appeared for the ED, what purpose was served by dragging the case on such small issues for so long.
“This issue is pending for long. What is the point? The larger public interest is to defeat foreign exchange violations. Looking at the serious allegations, we feel IPL is no more a clean entertainment,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.
“Young cricketers just want to play in IPL and earn Rs five to ten crore in one tournament and not play for the country,” he added.
The bench also asked Chinoy if Lalit Modi (who is believed to be in the UK) was ready to return to India and face these proceedings. “In future if your (Lalit Modi’s) presence is required, are you ready to come?” Justice Dharmadhikari asked.
Chinoy, however, said Modi (his lawyers) should be allowed to first cross-examine the witnesses in the present case. The bench would pass the order on the petition tomorrow.