LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi on Monday sent a legal notice to current chairman Ehsan Mani, accusing the current management of publishing incorrect details of his expenses to hurt his reputation.
According to the legal notice, a copy of which is available, the details published by the PCB on its website of expenses and payments during Sethi’s term were “incorrect, misleading, grossly exaggerated and deliberately calculated to hurt Mr Sethi’s reputation and to lower the esteem in which he is held by the general public.”
On October 27, the cricket board published details of the expenses incurred during Sethi’s terms as PCB chairman and Chairman of the PCB’s Executive Committee.
As per the PCB document, Sethi spent over Rs71 million in total— Rs31,115,180 during his four years as Chairman of the Executive Committee and Rs40,837,521 as PCB Chairman.
Terming the details as “deliberately misleading and defamatory”, the legal notice said the PCB document presents “incorrect figures, withholds information and deliberately avoids noting that all payments in question were authorised by the PCB’s Governing Board under the relevant rules”.
The legal notice stated that Sethi was never paid the amount Rs14 million as ‘PSL Allowance’, as claimed in the PCB document.
The notice further rejected PCB’s claim that no amount was paid to Ehsan Mani as ‘Accommodation Allowance’.
“This is deliberately misleading. Mr Ehsan Mani is currently being provided a furnished apartment in lieu of his Accomodation Allowance,” it said.
Referring to a number of expenses and payments in the PCB document listed as utility payments, PSL allowance and accommodation allowance, the notice said the board failed to state that all of these were “duly authorized and approved by the PCB’s Board of Governors”. It added that PCB accounts were audited during Sethi’s term by two external auditors who did not raise any objections.
The notice further claims that several amounts published in the PCB chart pertain to the period 2014-2017, when Sethi was not chairman.
Stating that several things were not mentioned in the records, the legal notice adds that in 2017, “the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sport recommended that Mr Sethi be given appropriate allowance for his successful staging of PSL. His PSL allowance was duly approved by PCB’s Board of Governors (BoGs) for the period 2015- 2018. Now withstanding the approval of the PSL Allowance, Mr Sethi has never been paid even one rupee as PSL allowance.”
Labeling the chart as “deliberately misleading”, the legal notice adds, “The Chart is deliberately misleading and defamatory. It presents incorrect figures, withholds information and deliberately avoids noting that all payments in question were authorised by the PCB’S BoGs) under the relevant rules. The Chart is therefore defamatory.”
“There is no valid business reason for the release of such incorrect and misleading information. Instead, the publication of the chart is clearly intended solely to malign Mr Sethi, presumably at the behest of Mr Imran Khan. It is unfortunate beyond measure that you are complicit in the abuse of the PCB for mala fide purposes,” it adds.
The notice calls on Chairman Ehsan Mani and the cricket board to withdraw the chart and apologise, failing which defamation proceedings would be commenced under the Defamation Order, 2002.