Mumbai: On a day of dramatic developments, the possibility of suspending IPL commissioner Lalit Modi grew tonight in a bid to keep him away from Monday’s Governing Council meeting which he surprisingly decided to attend.
The embattled commissioner, who is slated to chair the meeting, made an announcement on Sunday that he was changing his boycott decision but seek written charges for him to reply, a move being seen making it difficult for his detractors to remove him at short notice.
However, as the final match in the IPL was in progress, indications emerged that Modi could be suspended pending enquiry into the allegations of financial wrong-doings against him either late tonight or before commencement of the meeting at 10am tomorrow at BCCI headquarters.
The bigwigs of BCCI, including president Shashank Manohar, Niranjan Shah and N. Srinivasan, who owns Chennai Super Kings, kept away from the final match.
A Governing Council member said his suspension was high on the cards though he could not give an indication as to when exactly it would take place.
Ending days of speculation, Modi on Sunday gave a new twist to the fast unfolding IPL drama by deciding to chair the meeting which he had earlier called illegal.
“I will attend and chair the meeting of the Governing Council as chairman and commissioner. I have issued the agenda to the Governing Council,” Modi wrote on his twitter page.
The single-point agenda itself was circulated to the media within minutes of his tweet. It asked the council members to give their complaints against him in writing and backed by documentary proof.
“On the agenda, will be a discussion on any complaints received in writing from members of the Governing Council against the chairman, other members of the Council and/or the Board of Control for Cricket in India,” Modi said in a statement.
“Members of the Governing Council have been requested to give all such complaints in writing with the requisite supporting documents at the meeting on the morning of April 26 to the Chairman and Commissioner, so they can be replied in full,” he added.
The agenda chosen by Modi appears to be a bid to block any discussion on serious allegations against him widely reported in the media over the past several days.
That is because, it would be near impossible for the Governing Council members to provide documentary support since such documents are with the Income Tax and other investigative agencies.
“I have crossed bigger hurdles in my life, this will pass too. I have done nothing wrong. You are scared only if you have done something wrong. I have nothing to hide,“ Modi said.
As soon as the news broke out that Modi would attend the meeting, there was hectic activity at the BCCI headquarters.
Earlier, the BCCI’s top brass was huddled in a meeting of its own at the Board headquarters here to fine-tune its strategy to sack Modi.
BCCI president Shashank Manohar, vice-president Arun Jaitley, secretary N. Srinivasan, chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, media and finance committee chairman Rajiv Shukla and IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah met at the headquarters.
For the second day, efforts were made to persuade Modi to quit on his own as sacking him would have to be followed by an inquiry into the reasons which might throw up some more damaging revelations of murky financial dealings.
There were also talks about a couple of franchise owners being brought in to talk Modi into resigning after Sharad Pawar’s attempts at getting him to put in his papers failed.
His support base in the BCCI might be non-existent but Modi has found the backing of IPL franchise owners, who feel the league’s conceptualiser has become the victim of a media trial and deserves a chance to explain himself.
The extent to which Modi has been marginalised can be gauged from the fact that the Champions League Twenty20, of which Modi is the chairman, held a meeting without him and the entire BCCI top brass boycotted the IPL awards on Friday.
The Board’s constitution empowers its Disciplinary Committee “to inquire into and deal with the matters relating to any act of indiscipline or misconduct or violation of any of the Rules and Regulations of any player, umpire, team official, administrator, selector or any other person appointed or employed by the BCCI.”
Pending an inquiry, the person would be suspended by the President from “participating in any of the affairs of the Board until final adjudication”. The adjudication should be completed within six months.