BCCI names Chirayu Amin interim IPL commissioner

Baroda Cricket Association President Chirayu Amin was appointed the interim Chairman of the Indian Premier League in place of the high-flying Lalit Modi, who came in for a scathing attack from BCCI President Shashank Manohar on Monday.

The decision to appoint Amin was taken at the crucial meeting of the IPL Governing Council, which lasted close to one and a half hour.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Manohar said Modi would be charged on five counts — shady initial bids of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, a suspect broadcast deal with Sony, bid rigging of two new franchises this year and his behavioral pattern.

“The chargesheet was discussed and the Committee also appointed Chirayu Amin as the interim chairman. BCCI CAO Ratnakar Shetty will look into all the records,” Manohar said.

Manohar also said that some important documents were missing from the Board and IPL offices.

“Many documents are missing from the IPL and BCCI offices. Income Tax department has been asking for them but we don’t have them. Like the papers of the broadcast deal with Sony are not with us. IT department is asking for these documents but we can’t give them because they are not with us,” Manohar said.

Manohar said the next IPL’s planning would be taken care of by former India captains and Governing Council members Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and M A K Pataudi.

“With regards to the 2011 IPL, Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and M A K Pataudi will decide the modalities of holding three foreign and four Indian players after discussing with the franchises,” he said.

For all the allegations against Modi, Manohar said if he manages to convince the Board of his innocence in his reply, the inquiry proceedings against him would be dropped.

“It is the duty of the Board to look into the allegations and to have an inquiry it is important to suspend the person concerned. It’s not punishment. The person has to be kept out of the Board’s functioning to ensure a free and fair inquiry.

“The Board would hold an inquiry and if Modi’s reply convinces the members, proceedings would be dropped,” he said.

Manohar, insisting that the Governing Council was not even aware of Modi’s modus operandi, claimed that the most public faces of Rajasthan Royals, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra, don’t even figure in the shareholding papers.

“We are asking Modi, how can he sign an agreement with A when the bid came from B. Modi made a statement that the entire world knows who the shareholders are but the fact is that not even the Governing Council members know about Rajasthan Royals. I did not find the names of Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra in the papers and they claim to be stakeholders,” he revealed.

Asked whether the Board was worried about Modi’s threats of exposing other BCCI office-bearers, Manohar said there was no concern.

“The BCCI is not worried. If there are other others guilty, we will sack them and take the same action,” he said.

On whether he would share the blame for the scandal, Manohar said the whole system worked on faith and he could not be held responsible for entrusting Modi with the job.

“We are ex-officio members of the Governing Council and institutions work on trust. If I were take care of everything, why would I need a secretary? There is no question of failure of Governing Council. There is a totally professional set up to run IPL,” he asserted.

“When I don’t have the documents about the benami funds in Rajasthan Royals, how can I say anything? If the funds come from say Virgin Island or Mauritius, I don’t have the documents to probe. In fact I got to know of all this only after getting the Income Tax notices,” he added.

Clearing the air over other media speculation on Modi and the IPL, Manohar said the chargesheet against Modi does not have any allegations of betting and match fixing and also denied the formation of an inquiry committee to look into the accusations.

“No inquiry committee has been formed since no committee is required. All decisions have to be taken by the Governing Council and that is the committee. If people are guilty we will sack them,” he said.

Manohar also denied being under political pressure given the revelations of some politicians’ involvement in the bidding process.

“I don’t think there is any political pressure. I can assure you as far as I am concerned. Nobody can change my decision. Modi stands suspended from all posts — as the BCCI vice president, member of the marketing committee, fixture committee and all the board activities,” he said.

“There is no involvement of the any members of the (former BCCI President Sharad) Pawar. The bid documents have been seen by the Income-tax departments officials. Media is entitled to speculation,” he added.

On the future of the TV rights deal with the Sony network, in which Modi is alleged to have got kickbacks to the tune USD 80 million, Manohar remained non-committal.

“I am not an astrologer, I can’t say about something that will happen in the future. I cannot suspend a deal until I get the details, which I don’t have currently,” he said.

“Board doesn’t have any knowledge about the facilitation fee (the alleged kickback that Modi got) as we don’t have the documents of the deal. Only one person used to make plans,” he said.

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