IPL board members trade barbs

Express April 22, 2010

Another twist was added to Indian Premier League (IPL) drama on Thursday with chairman Lalit Modi planning to move to court against the league’s governing council meeting scheduled for Monday, according to Indian media. Modi’s latest move comes after the Indian cricket board, which owns the IPL, called the meeting to discuss the allegations that have been thrown by the parliament on the league, calling it a front for money laundering and corruption.

The future of Modi will also be discussed in the meeting as some board members believe Modi is responsible for bringing the league into the authorities’ crosshairs following the Twitter allegations. The growing rift between the authorities, along with the ensuing investigations by India’s tax department, has threatened the future of the money-spinning tournament. Modi, on Thursday, refused to attend the meeting, saying it was unauthorised and that he wanted a further five days to reply to the charges levelled against the league.

But BCCI President Shashank Manohar, a noted lawyer, took Modi head-on, saying Monday’s meeting in Mumbai would go ahead as scheduled and claimed the support of the majority in the 14-member council. “The meeting will be held,” said Manohar. “If some member does not wish to attend, there is nothing we can do. But we need to take action as quickly as possible.” Modi is of the opinion that, being the IPL commissioner, he has the sole authority to call such a meeting.

The tax probe began after Shashi Tharoor, the junior foreign minister, was forced to resign over claims that his girlfriend was given a free stake worth $15 million in a new franchise. Details of the ownership of the team, in the southern city of Kochi, were leaked on Twitter by Modi who also alleged that the meeting reeks of conflict of interest as a major stakeholder of the Chennai Super Kings franchise, Srinivasan, also happens to be the BCCI secretary and a convener of the meeting. There is intense speculation that the governing council will pass a resolution to oust Modi in Monday’s meeting irrespective of whether the IPL commissioner attends the meeting or not.

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