Just hours after the final match of IPL season three on Sunday, the Indian cricket authorities announced that Lalit Modi, the chairman and the commissioner of the IPL had been stripped of all his posts.
Shashank Manohar, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which owns IPL, told media that the “suspension was necessary for a free and fair inquiry”.
The board has named businessman Chirayu Amin, who is also a member of the IPL’s governing council, as the interim chief of the IPL.
Modi, who has been a driving force behind the multi million dollar IPL tournament, is accused of a wide range of corruption allegations. These include offering bribes, tax evasion, match fixing and irregularities in bidding deals related to the IPL. According to local media, Modi is also accused of receiving an 80 million dollar kickback when he negotiated television broadcast rights for the cricket series.
The IPL’s governing council has given Lalit Modi 15 days to explain why “disciplinary action should not be taken against him”.
The board also said that if Modi’s reply was convincing, charges and proceedings against him would be dropped.
Modi remains defiant
46-year-old Modi has denied any wrong doing. In a speech following the final match late last Sunday, he insisted the “IPL was clean and transparent”.
“I reassure you that if there has been any flouting of the rules and regulations or if there have been any irregularities, I shall take full responsibility,” Modi added.
The controversy started two weeks ago, when Modi revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the IPL in 2011. On the social networking site Twitter, Modi said that a female friend of former Junior Foreign Minister Shashi Tharoor had been given a free stake in the new team. The news sparked media frenzy and protest from the opposition, which ultimately forced the minister to step down.
Since then, the finance ministry has launched an extensive tax investigation into the IPL, the cricket board and its franchise owners, which include powerful business people and Bollywood stars.