The success of the IPL was not because of Lalit Modi alone, according to a top BCCI official, who reckons the Twenty20 league will continue to flourish without the suspended Commissioner as cricket sells itself in India.
The BCCI’s Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said that the Board has enough competent people to take the event forward.
“The IPL will continue to flourish. The success is not only because of Modi. BCCI will put up a good team to make IPL even more successful,” Mr. Shetty told in an e—mail interview on Wednesday.
The high—flying Mr. Modi was suspended as the chairman and commissioner of the league after the final on Sunday because of alleged financial irregularities and rigging of bids.
Mr. Modi was charged on five counts, including irregularities in the bids of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab and in the broadcast and internet deals.
Mr. Modi’s removal has raised apprehensions among the franchises many of whom openly backed the embattled former commissioner during the raging controversy.
“There is no need for the franchisees to be apprehensive.
BCCI will ensure that IPL will be managed professionally. The BCCI president Shashank Manohar and interim chairman Chirayu Amin have already made it clear in this regard,” Mr. Shetty said.
The scandal has tarnished the image of the BCCI to a great extent but Mr. Shetty said steps would be taken to protect the game and the Board’s reputation.
“BCCI will take all steps required to protect the game and its own reputation. All these developments gave a bad name to the organisation but we will take all corrective steps,” the chief administrative officer said.
Mr. Shetty, who has been given the responsibility of investigating all the missing documents related to bids and other IPL deals, said he would write to Mr. Modi to hand over all the original documents which are with him.
“We will officially write to Mr. Modi to hand over all the original documents held by him as they are the property of BCCI,” he said.
Asked whether he felt the market value of IPL would go down due to the entire controversy and Modi’s removal, he said, “IPL is a brand of its own and it is built around the game of cricket. It will grow further.”
Mr. Shetty also vehemently denied that there was political pressure on the BCCI to take stern action against Modi after Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor’s resignation.
“I can tell you that there was no political pressure on the BCCI. Not at all,” he asserted.
He also came to the defence of IPL Governing Council which failed to keep a tab on Mr. Modi’s alleged wrong-doings.
Asked how much blame the governing council should take for the entire fiasco, he said, “To be fair to the Governing Council, in most cases the papers came for ratification and Rajiv Shukla had written about this to Shashank Manohar.”
On what prompted the council to appoint Chirayu Amin as the interim chairman of the league, the CAO said, “Chirayu Amin is an experienced cricket administrator, maintains a low profile and can handle the issues in IPL.”
Mr. Shetty said that Mr. Modi’s response to the show—cause notice would be placed in front of the disciplinary committee.
“The reply to show cause notice will be placed before the three—member Disciplinary Committee of BCCI,” he said.
The Disciplinary Committee comprises of president Mr. Manohar and two vice-presidents —— Amin and Arun Jaitley. The Disciplinary Committee will then submit its report in the General Body Meeting.
On Mr. Modi’s threat to expose some of the BCCI officials in the wake of the IPL furore, Mr. Shetty shot back, “He is free to do that.”
On whether he considers IPL scandal the biggest crisis in Indian cricket, he said, “It’s certainly not bigger than the match—fixing scandal.”