Lalit Modi on confrontation path with BCCI

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Lalit Modi appeared to be on a collision course with the BCCI, questioning the legality of Monday's Governing Council meeting to decide his fate.

Updated: April 21, 2010 12:08 IST
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New Delhi:

Under pressure to quit, defiant Lalit Modi on Wednesday appeared to be on a collision course with the BCCI, questioning the legality of Monday's Governing Council meeting to decide his fate as the IPL Commissioner.

However, BCCI sources expressed confidence that Modi would be voted out of the post notwithstanding his defiance and raising procedural issues.

The government also appeared to be concerned at the highest level with Prime Minister Mammohan Singh discussing the IPL row with senior BCCI official Rajiv Shukla, a Modi detractor.

Though he refused to disclose what he discussed with the Prime Minister, he told reporters that the BCCI would not hesitate to take "drastic" steps, implying the ouster of Modi to clear the mess.

With indications emerging that Sharad Pawar and other influential members of the BCCI, including president Shashank Manohar and secretary N Srinivasan, and IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah said to be gunning for his removal, Modi on Wednesday sought postponement of the Monday meeting.

Sources said he has questioned the legality of the meeting on the ground that only he can convene it as the Commissioner.

He also wanted that the meeting be deferred for him to prepare himself for answering any issue that could be raised in the meeting on the raging controversy surrounding the IPL in the wake of the allegations over the funding and its sources.

Modi is understood to have conveyed to the BCCI that he would not be in a position to attend the Monday meeting as he wanted more time for preparation. There were reports that he wanted to make public all the details of the ownership pattern of the eight franchises but BCCI is understood to have put brakes on his proposal. However, there was no confirmation of this.

The IPL issue hotted up after Modi's tweet last week raising questions over the ownership of Kochi IPL franchise following which Union Minister Shashi Tharoor had to quit. He was accused of having negotiated with the Kochi franchise to get sweat equity of the value of Rs 70 crores.

Similarly, questions have been raised over the unsuccessful bids of Videocon and Adani groups for Ahmedabad and the alleged sweat equity offer made by them to relatives of a couple of Union Ministers.

BCCI sources said the Governing Council would go ahead with the meeting and pass a resolution voting him out of the high-profile post.

Modi, on his part, wanted to schedule the meeting on May 1 so that he could get enough time to prepare his defence.

Meanwhile, there were reports that Modi had sent an e-mail to all the BCCI authorities a few days ago offering to disclose the details of entire share-holding of each franchisee in view of the questions being raised on the ownership issues. A copy of the communication was sent to all the franchise owners.

However, sources said that BCCI Pesident Manohar responded to Modi's communication, saying "ownership is a complex issue and its legal complications need to be discussed. Ownership can be discussed at the GC meeting and considered there."

Manohar's opinion was supported by several Governing Council members including Ravi Shastri, Arun Jaitley, Niranjan Shah and Chirayu Amin, sources said.

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 will 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.

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.

A day afer appearing to have come to Modi's rescue, Union Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association President, Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said he is not the saviour or the hangman of the IPL Commissioner.

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