IPL names interim chief

MUMBAI: Businessman Chirayu Amin has been named the interim chief of the Indian Premier League in place of the suspended Lalit Modi, officials said on Monday.

Amin, who runs a pharmaceutical business in the western city of Vadodara, is one of the five vice-presidents of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and a member of the IPL’s governing council.

“Chirayu Amin will be the interim head of the IPL, which we consider to be a great property,” BCCI president Shashank Manohar told a packed media conference at the board headquarters in Mumbai.

The head of India’s cricket body said that the suspension of IPL boss over tax evasion and match-fixing claims was required for a “free and fair” investigation.

“The suspension is necessary for a free and fair inquiry. It’s not a punishment,” Manohar told a packed news conference in Mumbai.

He said the investigation would include checks on the companies involved in bids for two teams, the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, which are respectively part-owned by film actresses Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta.

“We are asking for an explanation” about the firms and the transfer of shares in them, he added.

The probe, which could take up to six months and even a year, will also look at agreements struck for broadcasting and Internet rights plus “the behavioural pattern of Mr Modi”, he said, referring to leaks from private board meetings.

The inquiry will not look into claims of illegal betting, Manohar added.

But the official said that some key documents relating to broadcasting rights demanded by India’s tax authorities were missing from the IPL office.

“We don’t have them in our custody,” he said.

Manohar also sought to distance the BCCI from the affair. “Most of the contracts that are entered into are entered into without the consent of the governing council,” he said.

“They are brought before the governing council after the contracts are signed. So, the governing council has no other option and is presented with a fait accompli.”

Manohar said former national captains Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri will decide how to organise future versions of the IPL.

All three are members of the tournament’s governing council, whose strength has been reduced to 13 after Modi’s suspension earlier on Monday.

Modi, the driving force behind the money-spinning IPL tournament was suspended in a bid to stem an escalating crisis involving tax and match-fixing allegations.

The IPL, which began in 2008, features the world’s top cricketers playing the popular Twenty20 format of the game for eight franchises owned by India’s wealthy businessmen and film stars.

Two more franchises are to be added for the 2011 season and a fresh auction of players in due to be held later this year.

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