Indian Premier League April 19, 2010

Modi aims to resolve crisis, meets Kochi chairman

Cricinfo staff

Lalit Modi met the new chairman of the Kochi franchise, Dubai-based Harshad Mehta, in an attempt to solve the row over the team's ownership structure that has snowballed into a major political issue in India.

Modi, who was in Dubai for an ICC meeting with BCCI president Sharad Pawar and ICC principal advisor IS Bindra, was confident that a solution was in sight after meeting with Mehta. "Kochi issue would be resolved. I am confident the Kochi team will continue and contribute to the success of IPL," Modi told PTI.

The controversy was triggered by an update on Lalit Modi's twitter account that questioned the ownership structure of the Kochi consortium, particularly the nature of equity owned by Sunanda Pushkar, who is a friend of Shashi Tharoor, a cabinet minister in the Indian government. Ms. Pushkar has since given up her stake in the franchise, while Tharoor was forced to resign from his office, over allegations of conflict of interest in his mentoring of the consortium.

Modi denied he had a personal agenda against Tharoor, or that there was an element of political power struggle. "It is not Modi Vs Tharoor… My priority is cricket and we would resolve the entire issue at the earliest," Modi said.

The spat and its ramifications led to speculation that BCCI was miffed with Modi's functioning, and would look to curtail his powers. Modi however said he had no differences with the BCCI.

"I have no difference with [BCCI president] Shashank Manohar and I have been asked to attend the ICC meeting [on his behalf]," Modi said.