Modi wants more time

Afp May 10, 2010

NEW DEHLI: Suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi, on Monday, sought more time to answer corruption charges that have sparked a government investigation into the lucrative cricket tournament.

Modi was due to respond to the allegations by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which suspended Modi as head of the IPL two weeks ago, pending its own probe into corruption, tax evasion and money-laundering. He was also stood down as a BCCI vice-president and as chairman of the T20 Champions League. “He wants five more days,” said a BCCI source.

The board is likely to grant Modi the extension, but has yet to make an official announcement. The charges faced by Modi include rigging IPL bids, holding proxy stakes in teams, taking cash from companies in return for broadcasting deals, and having a dictatorial management style. Modi’s troubles began when he revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the tournament in 2011. He embarrassed a high-profile member of the government, junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, by leaking how Tharoor’s girlfriend had been given a free stake in the new team. Under pressure from the opposition, the minister had to resign.

Modi faced another scandal last week when it emerged he proposed a parallel league in England. The plan, revealed by England’s cricket chief Giles Clarke in an email to Indian officials, involved English county sides playing an IPL-style tournament. Modi held a secret meeting with officials from three counties - Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire - in New Delhi in March to discuss the proposal without the knowledge of the concerned boards, according to the email.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 11th, 2010.