According to reliable sources, the Royal Challengers owner wanted Mr Pawar to back Mr Lalit Modi and allow him to have his say in the controversy.

After Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Lalit Modi met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in New Delhi, it was the turn of liquor baron and owner of Royal Challengers Bangalore Vijay Mallya.

Mr. Mallya met Mr. Pawar at his residence here on Saturday to discuss supporting Mr. Modi, and the allegations of match-fixing that dog the event.

Mr. Mallya wanted Mr. Pawar to back Mr. Modi and allow him to have his say in the controversy, reliable sources said. However, Mr. Pawar cautioned Mr. Mallya not to back Mr. Modi and let the IPL Governing Council meeting take a decision.

The Centre has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to have any truck with Mr. Modi.

The Governing Council will meet on Monday despite Mr. Modi's request for a grace time of five days. Mr. Mallya has been supporting Mr. Modi all along, arguing that he has done a good job, and should be granted time to make out his case.

Mr. Mallya, who is also the managing committee member of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, later told journalists that he did not discuss the controversy with Mr. Modi at the IPL awards function on Friday night.

He admitted that there might be some issues about the way in which the IPL functioned, and some members of the Governing Council might not be happy with it. He called for an investigation, but regretted that the IPL was now being dragged into the mire of match-fixing and slush money and aspersions being cast on the team owners.

Mr. Pawar, a former BCCI president, is also the president-elect of the International Cricket Council. As president of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), he is facing criticism over his party colleague and Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel's role in the controversy.

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