Lalit Modi suspended as IPL chief
Now the third season of the IPL has concluded the explosive on-field exploits are set to be dwarfed by events off the field as the future of IPL chairman, Lalit Modi, becomes increasingly precarious.
As allegations of corruption swirl around the league, Modi was, in the hours after Sunday’s IPL final, suspended both from his role as head of the IPL and his involvement with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
At the heart of the mess sits Modi, whose IPL brainchild has now morphed into a venture that has recently been valued at more than $4billion, and who, as the season drew to a close, faced increasing pressure to step down from the helm of the competition.
Anyone who thought the outspoken businessman would go quietly as the allegations of corruption engulfed the league was soon proven wrong.
“People pressurising me to resign - I can tell you will not happen. Let them remove me then,” Modi stated via his Twitter page on the eve of the IPL final. They might yet be words that come back to haunt the IPL founder in the days and weeks to come.
Modi subsequently used his speech at this year’s closing ceremony not as an opportunity to step down as chief of the competition, but as a chance to mount some form of defence of his leadership.
"There have been some off-field unpleasant dramas based on the unknown, half-truths and motivated leaks from all sorts of sources," he said during the speech.
"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’s defence of his, and the IPL’s actions, in the closing ceremony speech wasn’t a ploy that worked, and in the hours that followed, the BCCI took matters into their own hands and suspended him from his post as IPL chairman and from his involvement in the BCCI.
Members of the BCCI emerged from an extra-ordinary meeting in Mumbai on Monday to set out their main allegations against the head of the multi-billion dollar competition, which they say relate to the initial bids for Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, issues surrounding broadcasting rights, alleged rigging of the bids for the two new IPL franchises, internet rights and Modi’s behavioural pattern relating to confidential information being leaked to the media.
The BCCI gave Modi 15 days to respond to the allegations, and stated that if he can convince them of his side of the story the proceedings against him will be dropped.
After the meeting, the BCCI also announced that industrialist Chirayu Amin would step in as interim IPL chairman in light of Modi’s suspension.
The storm surrounding the transparency of the IPL’s dealings erupted after Modi revealed details of the ownership composition of new IPL franchise, Kochi, via his Twitter account earlier in April. The controversy surrounding the revelations has already prompted India's junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoo to resign from his post in response to conflict of interest allegations over links to the winning consortium during their bid for the new franchise.
The controversy also led India’s tax department to announce they were going to investigate the funding of the Kochi franchise, and prompted tax officers to pay a visit to the offices of the IPL and Modi’s house, as well as the office of the Kings XI Punjab.