x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Modi asks for time to reply to charges

The suspended Indian Premier League chairman has sought more time from the Indian cricket board to answer to corruption charges.

The suspended Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi has sought more time to answer corruption charges that have sparked a government investigation into the cricket tournament, sources said. Modi was due to respond to the allegations by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which suspended Modi as head of the IPL two weeks ago pending its own probe into corruption, tax evasion and money-laundering. However, sources also told that the extension was sought after the board had failed to hand out some documents that Modi had asked for to prepare his reply. "He wants five more days," a BCCI source told AFP, adding that the extension was likely to be granted. Modi has run the IPL as a virtual one-man show since its inception three years ago but his flamboyance and often divisive personality has not found much support both within the BCCI, which owns the tournament, and world bodies as well. "I am going to reply personally because there is nothing to hide," Modi was reported as saying to news channels on Saturday and on his Twitter page. "I have not gone anywhere. I have only been suspended." Asked if the IPL would be affected by his suspension, Modi said the league would weather the current storm. "We have built a strong organisation," he said. "I don't think the IPL will suffer. I think we have enough competent people to run the organisation. It's a very strong brand." Modi's troubles began when he revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the tournament in 2011. He embarrassed a high-profile member of the government, junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, by leaking on Twitter how Tharoor's girlfriend had been given a free stake in the new team. The charges and counter-allegations resulted in opening a can of worms where all the existing IPL franchises came under scanner and Modi's own links with a couple of the eight franchises. The charges faced by Modi include rigging IPL bids, holding proxy stakes in teams, taking cash from companies in return for broadcasting deals, and having a dictatorial management style. Modi faced another scandal last week when it emerged he tried to divide England cricket by proposing a parallel event with at least three English counties. The England's cricket chief Giles Clarke has complained about this in an email to Indian officials, though the three counties concerned have gone ahead and defended Modi, saying there was just a plan up for discussion to use the Test grounds in England to better use and the talks had nothing to hide about. * Agencies