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April 22, 2010
In the first instance of introspection over the IPL mess, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, the former India captain and a member of the league's governing council, has said the body failed in its role to monitor the IPL's administration and be more questioning of decisions taken. Pataudi also said he believed Modi could have a chance of staying on in his current role if he attends Monday's meeting.
There are reports that Modi - who was questioned for six-odd hours by federal tax officials on Thursday - is planning to move Bombay High Court on Friday for a postponement of that meeting, though he told Cricinfo such reports were "rubbish". Modi had, in a letter to BCCI president Shashank Manohar, questioned the validity of Monday's meeting saying he is the only one who can convene an IPL meeting. Manohar has since rejected that notion.
Pataudi, though, said he believed Modi's best bet was to attend the meeting and plead for more time if he needed it to answer the allegations directed at him. "If he doesn't come to the meeting, I suspect the BCCI will take a very strict view," he said on NDTV." The BCCI will have no choice but to be harsh with Modi. Lalit is playing very hard to get. I am not sure what Modi is up to." He added there's unlikely to be a need for a formal vote against Modi; it would, he said, be sorted through consensus.
Aviation minister dragged into row
The entire controversy has raised questions over the lack of monitoring by the BCCI and the IPL's governing council, which also includes Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri. It's a point Pataudi conceded too. "The IPL governing council should have been aware, they felt things were okay," he said on NDTV. "It has been a failure ... we should have been aware of what was happening. The fact that we didn't question anything is because we were carried away with how well everything was going."
Asked why he did not act, Pataudi said: "I saw the crowds, the IPL was very popular ... the dirt that has been attached to it is sad... but as long as the product was good, I was happy. But we should have been more aware and more understanding. So if you say this governing council should be sacked, I'd say it's a valid question."
A major issue to have emerged in the past few days has been the cases of conflict of interest in the IPL. It's a point Modi made in his mail to Manohar about Monday's meeting - his point was that it had been called by N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary who is also the owner of the IPL's Chennai franchise.
That link, Pataudi said, essentially justified Modi's relatives having stakes in IPL teams - but with one rider. What mattered, he said, was whether Modi, like Srinivasan, had taken the BCCI into confidence on the matter. "Let's put it this way, there are certain issues which were settled even before the first IPL met, the governing council met. And that was that the board gave permission for a BCCI office-bearer to own a team," he said.
"If a BCCI office-bearer can own a team then I think why cannot Mr Modi's relations also? Question is, did he ask permission of the BCCI? That I don't know."
Another contentious issue has been the allegation that a "facilitation fee" was paid during the renegotiation of the TV rights in 2009. Pataudi said it was not discussed at any meeting where he was present. Asked whether, on this issue, the governing council was looking the other way or whether it didn't get what was going on, Pataudi said it was "a bit of both". It wasn't aware, he said, and was looking away in the sense that everything was going well and it didn't need to look any further.
Pataudi explained his perspective on why the knives are now out for Modi. "Many don't like Lalit Modi's style of functioning. He should have done it in a different way." Modi's biggest failure, he said, was that he had been doing it all alone. "He doesn't want anyone else involved... that is his biggest strength and his biggest weakness. His style puts people off."
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