IPL boss Modi booted out
Mumbai - Indian cricket bosses on Wednesday replaced the suspended chief of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, capping the demise of one of the game's most high-profile and controversial figures.
Modi, the brash driving force behind the money-spinning IPL, was removed as the chairperson of the tournament, as vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and as head of the BCCI marketing committee.
"The present IPL governing council has been dissolved," BCCI president Shashank Manohar told a packed press conference in Mumbai after a general annual meeting. "All decisions were taken unanimously by the members."
The changes complete the fall of Modi from one of the most powerful world cricket figures to a tarnished outsider who is now fighting to salvage his reputation after he was suspended in April on allegations of corruption.
The new IPL boss will be Chirayu Amin, who owns Alembic pharmaceutical company and was formerly vice-president of the BCCI, while Rajiv Shukla, a ruling-party politician and cricket insider, was named BCCI vice-president.
Another politician, Farooq Abdullah, was appointed head of the BCCI marketing committee in place of Modi.
The 46-year-old scion of a prominent business family, Modi was virtually unknown outside cricket circles until five years ago.
He first hit the headlines when he joined political heavyweight Sharad Pawar in an acrimonious but successful campaign to wrestle control of the BCCI from long-time incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya in 2005.
A grateful Pawar rewarded Modi by ensuring his election as the youngest vice-president of the country's richest sporting body, whose assets were then worth an estimated 50 million dollars.
Three years later, BCCI revenues had tripled after Modi launched the glitzy IPL to counter a rebel Twenty20 league owned by the country's largest listed media house, Zee Telefilms.
Shortly after the conclusion of the third edition of the wildly popular tournament earlier this year, during which Modi partied with players and presented the winning trophy, his fortunes reversed dramatically.
He was suspended as the IPL chairperson following allegations of corruption, indiscipline and money-laundering.
His troubles began when he revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the tournament next year.
This embarrassed a high-profile member of the government, junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, because Tharoor's then-girlfriend and now wife had been given a free stake in the new team.
The minister was forced to resign under pressure from the opposition, which accused him of abusing his office to secure personal gain, with the free stake seen as a possible kickback.
The government then launched an investigation into the IPL, which led to multiple charges against Modi, who continues to be investigated by a three-member disciplinary committee set up by the BCCI.
Probes into the murky world of IPL business led the BCCI to issue new notices on Wednesday to three teams.
The owners of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab were targeted for "various irregularities", while Kochi also came under the scanner.
"The new IPL Governing Council, which will hold office for one year until the next annual general meeting of the board, will be headed by Chirayu Amin. It will have five members and two former cricketers," BCCI president Manohar said Wednesday.
The BCCI on Wednesday dropped a case against Dalmiya in the Bombay High Court related to the alleged embezzlement of funds from the 1996 World Cup. It also withdrew his expulsion from the board.