Modi hits back, terms BCCI governing council meet invalid

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 17:49

Zeecric Bureau

New Delhi: Sensing that his days as IPL Commissioner are numbered, a defiant Lalit Modi hit back at his detractors on Wednesday, seeking postponement of the IPL governing council meeting slated for April 26, and even going to the extent of calling it "invalid".

Sources claimed that Modi has e-mailed the governing council members to postpone the meeting. He wanted the meeting to be held in May in place of April 26.

Modi even threatened not to attend the meeting if BCCI decides to go ahead.

However, BCCI sources confirmed that the meeting would go ahead even without Modi.

In the e-mail, Modi also alleged that he wanted to reveal the names of the shareholders ten days back but was stopped by governing council members Shashank Manohar and Arun Jaitley.

With Lalit Modi showing no signs of stepping down, the BCCI has now drawn up the exit strategy for the controversial IPL Commissioner ahead of the crucial meeting.

Modi has already been sent feelers to step down voluntarily to end the furore that has engulfed the Twenty20 event and, with it, the BCCI. But he has preferred to keep his cards close to his chest and keep the top brass guessing for the time being.

The beleaguered IPL Commissioner, who returned to Mumbai last evening after attending an ICC meeting in Dubai, has appeared to be defiant and has gone on record to say that he would present his case in the Governing Council meeting.

By all indications, Modi is unlikely to go down without a fight which would only aggravate the already volatile and complex situation.

"It appears that Modi is in no mood to step down on his own. In such a scenario, there is bound to be some tension as the governing council has made up its mind to remove him," a top BCCI source said.

With former BCCI President Sharad Pawar also dumping him, reportedly under pressure from the government as well as the strong anti-Modi lobby within the Board, Modi`s survival routes seem truly choked now.

Sensing Modi`s defiance, the BCCI has already started talking tough with Media and Finance Committee chairman Rajiv Shukla saying that if the situation demands tough decisions, be taken when the IPL`s Governing Council meets.

"The question of people refusing to back down or not, they don`t matter. After the meeting between BCCI President Shashank Manohar and Sharad Pawar yesterday, it has been decided that in the April 26 governing council meeting, we will sit together and unanimously decide what to do," Shukla said.

"These decisions would in the interest of cricket and the BCCI. No matter how harsh they might seem, decisions would be taken to protect the BCCI and cricket`s image in the country. We have never compromised on our image in the past 60 years and there would be no compromise this time too," he added.

Shukla also met the PM today, explaining him the entire issue.

The BCCI, on its part, is also talking to some of the key franchisees in the cash-rich event and have explained to them, the scenario that could arise after Modi`s removal.

The source said that there is some apprehension among the franchise owners on how it will work out but the BCCI is confident of being able to manage the entire show without Modi.

According to the source, the BCCI top brass is proposing to have a three-member committee which will oversee the running of the league instead of having the all-powerful position of commissioner and chairman.

"This is intended to ensure that such situations do not arise in future. The three-man committee will proved the checks and balance and not make any one too powerful," the source said.

The skeletons started tumbling out after Modi`s tweets on the shareholding pattern of the new Kochi franchise disclosed that former junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor`s close friend Sunanda Pushkar had a `sweat equity` worth Rs 70 crore in the team.

Tharoor had to resign as a result but Modi is also in trouble after damaging revelations of his alleged `silent` stakes in at least three IPL teams. Besides, Modi is also facing accusations of money laundering and betting in the IPL.



First Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 17:49

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