Page last updated at 07:15 GMT, Monday, 26 April 2010 08:15 UK

Indian cricket suspends IPL chief Modi for 'corruption'

Lalit Modi, file photo
Lalit Modi has denied allegations of wrongdoing

India's cricket board has suspended IPL chief Lalit Modi over corruption allegations in the worst crisis to hit the Indian game this century.

At an emergency meeting on Monday the Indian cricket board, the BCCI, named an interim chairman and said it was searching for "missing" IPL documents.

Mr Modi, who is being investigated by tax officials, denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

Some of the world's top cricketers play for the lucrative IPL.

On Monday the BCCI said it had appointed Chirayu Amin, an industrialist and head of the Baroda Cricket Association, as interim chairman.

It said a number of documents were missing from the IPL office which tax officials had been asking for.

There have been some off-field unpleasant dramas based on the unknown, half-truths and motivated leaks from all sorts of sources
Lalit Modi
Suspended IPL chief

The BCCI appointed a board member to oversee their collection.

It confirmed Mr Modi's suspension and asked him to reply to the allegations against him.

"If Modi's reply convinces the members, proceedings will be dropped. So we will wait for his reply," the BCCI said.

BCCI president Shashank Manohar had waited until the end of the IPL final on Sunday to announce Mr Modi's suspension.

"The alleged acts of individual misdemeanours of Mr Lalit K Modi... have brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself," he said in a statement.

Mr Modi was suspended from "participating in the affairs of the board, the IPL, the working committee and any other committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India".

Mr Modi was originally scheduled to attend Monday's emergency meeting in Mumbai but refused to do so.

On Sunday he changed course and said he would attend but the charges against him would have to be made in writing, prompting the suspension.

This is the worst crisis to hit Indian cricket since a match-fixing scandal involving senior national players in 2000.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi says the IPL is Mr Modi's brainchild and has been a huge success.

But he says there is now mounting evidence that there has been almost no financial oversight and this could do serious damage to its global sporting brand and to the image of India itself.

Modi defiant

In Sunday's final in Mumbai, Chennai Super Kings beat the Mumbai Indians by 22 runs but events on the field in Mumbai have been overshadowed by the continuing allegations of corruption and money-laundering.

This is Indian cricket's worst crisis since the match-fixing calumny at the turn of the decade - and if Indian cricket sneezes, world cricket will catch a cold
Soutik Biswas

When he heard of the suspension, Mr Modi reacted defiantly.

"Good for them," he told Indian TV channel NDTV. "Are they so scared of me attending? Are they so scared of the truth?

"I will not be able to attend the meeting, but I will wait for my turn," he said.

Earlier, in an address to the crowd after the IPL final, he insisted the league was "clean and transparent".

"There have been some off-field unpleasant dramas based on the unknown, half-truths and motivated leaks from all sorts of sources," he said.

"I reassure you that if there has been any flouting of the rules and regulations or if there have been any irregularities, I shall take full responsibility."

The crisis erupted after Mr Modi revealed on his Twitter account that a female friend of Shashi Tharoor, a junior government minister, had invested in a consortium awarded a new IPL franchise in Kochi.

That revelation caused a storm which sparked Mr Tharoor's resignation and also led to government investigations into the teams, sponsors, broadcasters and event managers associated with the IPL.

The IPL has become a multi-billion dollar industry, which attracts some of India's wealthiest businessmen and women.

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