IPL row: Pawar, Mallya back Modi; BCCI stands firm

Zeecric Bureau

Mumbai: After being bombarded with criticism from everywhere, Lalit Modi on Saturday found some words of comfort and support from one of the IPL team owners, Vijay Mallya, who said that the league commissioner should be given a chance to explain his side of the story.

Royal Challengers Bangalore team owner Mallya met former BCCI president Sharad Pawar at his residence this morning to, as claimed by Mallya, discuss about his business of wine. However, when asked by reporters regarding Modi and the entire IPL controversy, the liquor baron said that too much fuss was being made out of the Indian Premier League and that Modi must be given a ‘fair chance’ to defend himself.

Mallya added that there is ‘too much speculation’ regarding the IPL and all the allegations of match-fixing and ‘dirty foreign funding are baseless’. The RCB owner added that the IPL has been run in the most efficient manner possible and the governing council must conduct a proper inquiry into the IPL working if so much in doubt.

Meanwhile, sources claim that Pawar has asked the BCCI to delay its IPL governing council meeting by 3-5 days so as to give Modi some time to prepare his defence.

Modi had on Friday urged the BCCI to give him just five days to prepare answer for all the questions in lieu of his five-year-long services and in return, assured to not move court against IPL’s governing council meet on April 26.

It is also known that Pawar might meet the top BCCI brass later in the day to discuss the same.

However, BCCI seems to be in no mood to budge from their stand of holding the meeting on April 26 itself, despite an appeal by Modi for an extension.

According to a BCCI source, the governing council has planned to go ahead with the meeting as per schedule, i.e. on April 26 in Mumbai. The official also added that most of the members were not in favour of Modi and wanted him to quit as IPL commissioner.

“Modi can come to the meeting and plead his case. If he doesn’t have the relevant documents to defend himself, he can tell the governing council members at the meeting. We know he has been busy with IPL but that doesn’t mean he cannot even attend the meeting,” the source said.

”It is better for him to come to the meeting and explain his stand rather than keeping it. If he has nothing to hide why is he seeking five days time,” the source said.