Modi's suspension overshadows IPL final

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The Independent Online

The simmering tension surrounding the Indian Premier League's off-field affairs boiled over last night when Lalit Modi, the chairman and driving force behind the league's birth and frantic development, was suspended after being accused of an array of financial wrong doings, including money laundering and bribery.

The decision was announced just hours after the final of this year's event – won by Chennai Super Kings – and means that Modi will not be able to attend a key meeting of the league's governing body today. It prompted a characteristically forthright response from Modi. "Good for them. Are they so scared of me attending? Are they so scared of the truth?" he told Indian TV.

Shashank Manohar, president of the BCCI, the game's governing body in India, said in a statement: "The alleged acts of individual misdemeanours of [Modi] have brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself."

The current scandal blew up in the wake of the awarding of two new franchises with Modi questioning the ownership of the Kochi franchise. That led to the resignation of a junior minister, Shashi Tharoor, which in turn sparked an investigation into the IPL amid allegations of tax evasion and other financial improprieties.

Modi strongly denies any wrongdoing in what some see as an increasingly political struggle. At the awards ceremony that followed last night's final he said: "Though the events on the ground have been an outstanding success, there have been some off-field unpleasant dramas based on the unknown, half-truths and motivated leaks from all sorts of sources."