Modi continues to be under scrutiny

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The Independent Online

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi faces more scrutiny over the allegations of financial irregularities which have beset the tournament.

The governing council of the IPL are set to meet on Monday to discuss Modi's future, International Cricket Council vice-president Sharad Pawar announced today following a meeting with Board of Control for Cricket in India president Shashank Manohar.

Modi is facing growing pressure over his management of the IPL since he revealed on his Twitter account last week that the girlfriend of Shashi Tharoor, a junior government minister, had invested in a consortium awarded the new IPL franchise in Kochi.

Tharoor has been forced to resign, and reports suggest Modi may be asked to step down from his role with the IPL.

Pawar said: "Manohar met me today and he briefed me about the situation.

"The IPL governing council will take a unanimous decision on Modi's resignation and, thereafter, we will take the required action. The governing council will take the decision in the interest of cricket.

"The BCCI's total approach in the governing council will be to take collective, unanimous decisions, and give future direction to Indian cricket.

"Don't forget Mr Modi is also a vice-president of the BCCI, and our total approach and past experience is we always take collective and unanimous decision that everyone is party to - including Lalit Modi."

Modi appears to have the backing of the IPL franchises, with two owners showing their support for the competition commissioner.

Vijay Mallya, the owner of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, and Subroto Roy, chief of another new entrant Pune, insist Modi should stay .

"Unfortunately, this entire issue has snowballed into an unnecessary storm," said Mallya.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm full of appreciation for what Lalit Modi has delivered through the IPL.

"If he has issues with the Government of India, that's his private matter and he needs to deal with it."

Roy added: "One thing is important. Modi has done tremendous work for IPL, and one should note that."

India's finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has declared that a "thorough probe" will be launched into the finances of the IPL amid mounting pressure from the opposition parties.

Mukherjee said: "I can assure the honourable members that all aspects of the IPL - including its source of funding, where the funds are routed and they have been invested - all these aspects are being looked into, and the appropriate action as per law will be taken."

Modi, however, has denied any allegations of wrongdoing.

In a statement he said: "Mr Lalit Kumar Modi, chairman and commissioner, Indian Premier League (IPL), has rubbished the front-page article that appeared today in the Economic Times under the title 'I-T Blows The Lid off IPL Sleaze - Lalit Modi charged with Betting & Laundering'.

"Describing the article as absolutely baseless, ill-founded and motivated, Lalit Modi said that he will initiate appropriate legal action against such defamatory and malicious campaign against him by a motivated section of media."