India cricket mogul Modi suspended in growing IPL scandal

10:09, April 28, 2010      

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The head of India's $4 billion cricket premier league was removed from his post on Monday after a scandal that has ensnared top politicians and strained the ruling coalition.

Tax authorities are probing the three-year-old Indian Premier League (IPL), the game's most lucrative tournament, after a junior government minister resigned following allegations of improper influence.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) axed IPL chief Lalit Modi immediately after the final match of the 2010 series, past midnight, saying he had "brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself".

The widening scandal has sparked tension between the congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key ally whose chief is seen close to Modi, ahead of a possible confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday over high fuel prices.

While Modi has not been formally charged and denies any wrongdoing, newspapers have said authorities were investigating reports of improprieties in bidding for teams and in negotiating television broadcast rights for the matches.

"The board looked into the allegations and took a decision to to issue a show-cause notice to Mr Lalit Modi and, pending inquiry, decided to suspend him," BCCI president Shashank Manohar told a news conference in Mumbai.

The board's probe would be dropped if Modi convinced them of his innocence within two weeks, Manohar said.

Ahead of his suspension, Modi reiterated his stand.

"We have had some off-field unpleasant dramas only based on innuendos, half-truths and motivated leaks from all types of sources," Modi told the crowd that had come for the IPL final on Sunday night.

"I assure you all decisions have been jointly taken by the governing council and approved by the general body in both year one and two of the IPL."

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