Modi snubbed; powers may be clipped
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 17, 2010, 11:07
  
Zeecric Bureau

Dharamsala: Controversial IPL commissioner Lalit Modi escaped again as BCCI officials took no action against him in the ‘informal’ IPL governing council meeting here on Friday.

After his public spat with MoS Shashi Tharoor over the Kochi IPL team and the I-T officials’ raid, it was expected that BCCI would take action against the embattled IPL chairman. But nothing of this sort happened in the informal governing council meeting. The only ‘action’ that was taken against him was that Modi was not invited for the informal governing council meeting on Friday.

Despite the media speculations that Lalit Modi’s wings could be clipped in the wake of the Kochi IPL controversy, everybody was not convinced as former BCCI boss and Union Minister Sharad Pawar came out in support of Modi, saying that the latter worked tremendously well for the success of IPL.

Apart from Pawar, the other BCCI bosses are miffed by Lalit Modi’s style of functioning that has spawned a lot of controversies, the latest one being the public spat over IPL Kochi team with MoS Shashi Tharoor.

Also, the questioning of Lalit Modi by Income Tax officials over the financial dealings and share holding patterns of the cricketing body had added fuel to the fire.

It was reported that BCCI chief Shashank Manohar would chair the IPL governing council meet in Dharamsala on Friday for an ‘unofficial’ discussion on the entire issue about Kochi franchisee’s stakeholders in detail.

Sources had also claimed on Friday that BCCI boss Shashank Manohar would be named IPL co-chairman to rein in controversy-ridden Lalit Modi.

Shashank Manohar had only few days back written a strongly-worded letter to Modi, saying that his disclosure on Twitter revealing names of IPL Kochi team owners was unbecoming of him as a chairman of a sub-committee of the board.

“Your action is in serious breach of the confidentiality clause in the agreement,” Manohar had written.

“Till date, you have made public statements about a lot of issues which were not even discussed in the meetings of the governing council when it is the governing council which has the authority to take decisions with regard to each and every issue related to IPL,” Manohar said.

But now with Union Agriculture Minister and ICC president-elect Sharad Pawar coming out in support of Modi, it remains to be seen what action would be taken against Lalit Modi.

“There is nothing wrong in disclosing the names of the stakeholders to the public,” Pawar said.

Modi, who wields considerable influence as IPL commissioner and chairman, has found himself in a spot after his public disclosure of the stake-holding structure in the Kochi franchisee which has snowballed into a major controversy.

Although as per the IPL constitution, Modi cannot be removed as the Commissioner till 2012. But the latest controversy and the I-T raid have surely dented his credibility, and in all probability, will see the emergence of a less powerful Modi.

IPL under I-T scanner

After a visit to the Mumbai office of Indian Premier League (IPL), the Income Tax administration proposes similar investigation into other cities' teams as well to ascertain the source of funds of various franchises, officials here said on Friday.

"This will be an ongoing process. We may be conducting investigations in other cities as well. But let me also add: these are not raids, but document-based investigation," a top official in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) told IANS in the national capital.

Investigating officers of I-T department also probed IPL Kochi headquarters and Kings XI Punjab offices in Mohali. The teams have reportedly seized three hard disks which would provide complete details of conversation between the IPL management and bidders, Zee News has learned.

Since Thursday evening, officials of the Income Tax department not only examined various documents and records at the office of IPL, but also questioned its commissioner Lalit K. Modi.

The operation, described as a routine inquiry, went on till the early hours of Friday.

According to top officials here, the operation in Mumbai was primarily to establish that the source of money involved in the cricketing extravaganza was "clean" with no loss to the exchequer on account of evasion.

Modi may further be questioned in the matter, they added.

I-T official also added that since the IPL bosses were forewarned, they successfully ‘sprinting away’ papers before the I-T team could reach Parel.

One senior officer said, “The CCTV footage retrieved by us clearly shows IPL officials leaving the hotel with papers and briefcases, minutes before the I-T team reached the target destination. We are no trying to identify officials and make a damage-control assessment.”


First Published: Saturday, April 17, 2010, 11:07


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