Mumbai (IANS) The Indian cricket board Monday charged its vice president Lalit Modi on several counts of financial impropriety, including allegations of bid rigging, and appointed another vice-president and corporate honcho Chirayu Amin as interim president of the high profile Indian Premier League (IPL).
Indian cricket board president Shashank Manohar, using his constitutional prerogative, suspended Modi in a dramatic midnight action, moments after the outgoing IPL commissioner made a highly emotional speech defending a "clean and transparent" tournament, and hours later the Governing Council (GC) discussed ways to clean up the system.
Amin, 62, is no stranger to cricket administration or marketing affairs. He is the president of the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) and is also the chief managing director (CMD) of the Baroda-based 100-year-old Rs.1,200-crore pharmaceutical giant Alembic Ltd.
Listing the charges against Modi, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief told a packed news conference that all the allegations against Modi will be probed. The chargesheet has five broad heads -- the initial bids of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the broadcasting deal, bid rigging in 2010, Internet rights of IPL and his behavioural patterns.
Manohar said the board will inquire into the charges, if necessary, after receiving Modi's reply. "If Modi's reply is convincing to the members, the proceedings will be dropped."
"Looking at the allegations and counter-allegations made through the media, the board took a decision to issue a show-cause notice to Mr Modi and, pending inquiry, decided to suspend him. The board will hold, after receiving a reply from Mr. Modi, an inquiry if necessary. If the reply of Mr Modi convinces the members, the proceedings will be dropped," said Manohar.
He said it was important to suspend Modi so that a free and fair investigation could be conducted.
"For free and fair inquiry it was necessary to suspend Modi so that he cannot interfere with the process," he said.
Manohar said the show-cause notice to Modi was sent only after the presentation ceremony was over and thereafter he was suspended.
"When the tournament was on, we never wanted it to be disrupted or any problems created in the tournament because the IPL is a valuable property of the board."
"The commercial aspect of such an event is an important thing. However, ethics and transparency are more important."
Manohar said the chargesheet was discussed in the emergency GC meeting.
"The chargesheet was discussed as also the committee unanimously appointed Chirayu Amin as the interim chairman of the committee.
"We have also asked Ratnakar Shetty to look into all the records because many of the documents are missing from the office of the IPL and the board. Everyday the income-tax department is asking for the documents, but we don't have them in our custody. Therefore, we have asked Prof Shetty to look into all these aspects of documents and we have taken a decision to go ahead with regard to the tournament for the year 2011."
Manohar said the GC was never taken into confidence by Modi while taking all his decisions.
The GC also appointed a committee with three former captains Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi to discuss and decide the modalities of franchisees retaining three foreign and four Indian players for the fourth edition when the players are put on auction later this year.
"After discussing the issue with the franchisees, they have been asked to come back to the board so that a final decision in this regard can be taken."
"The governing council will meet after a month, sometime in June after all the preliminary things are done because most of the GC members were unaware of the things happening."
Twelve GC members, except Modi and Jammu and Kashmir cricket association president Farooq Abdullah, were present at the meeting held under the chairmanship of Manohar at the Cricket Centre in Wankhede Stadium here.
The other members of the Governing Council are former BCCI president and Punjab Cricket Association chief Inderjit Singh Bindra, BCCI treasurer M.P. Pandove, vice-presidents Amin and Arjun Jaitley, chairman of Media and Finance Committee Rajiv Shukla, board secretary N. Srinivasan, joint secretary Sanjay Jagdale, IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah and former India captains Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.
Manohar also talked about IPL CEO Sundar Raman, who is in the firing line after Modi's exit.
"I came here three days in advance to look into all the documents and contracts in view of the ongoing controversy. I called Sundar Raman, because on that day in the evening there was an IPL awards function. I asked for the contract of that function and I was told, 'Sir there was no contract. The contract terms were finalised yesterday night'.
"And this he informs me at 3 o' clock in the afternoon when the function is going to be held at 7 o'clock in the evening.
"Thereafter, if this issue comes before the GC, what do you expect the council to do? Do you expect it to say that 'no, we reject this contract and we are going to cancel this function after the function is already over'?" said the BCCI chief.