Inquiry against Modi, Amin named interim chief IPL

MUMBAI: Indian cricket authorities suspended the head and driving force behind the money-spinning IPL tournament on Monday in a bid to stem an escalating crisis over corruption and match-fixing allegations.

Businessman Chirayu Amin, who runs a pharmaceutical business in the western city of Vadodara, has been named the interim chief of the IPL. He is one of the five vice-presidents of the BCCI and a member of the IPL''s governing council.

After a week of intense speculation that Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi faced the axe, the news came just hours after the final on Sunday night of a tournament he built into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

The BCCI, which owns the IPL, nevertheless accuses Modi of "alleged acts of individual misdemeanours" and is scrutinising his financial dealings in relation to the tournament, which began in 2008.

The seeds of his downfall were sown two weeks ago when he revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the glitzy and globally popular IPL in 2011.

Writing on micro-blogging site Twitter, he embarrassed a high-profile member of the government, junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, by leaking how Tharoor''s girlfriend had been given a free stake in the new team.

Under pressure from the opposition, which accused Tharoor of misusing his office to secure benefit for himself, the minister was forced to resign, embarrassing the Congress-led government.

Since then, the finance ministry has launched a wide-ranging tax probe into the IPL, the BCCI and its franchise owners -- powerful business and Bollywood figures -- and many blame Modi for bringing the tax man to their door.

The investigation has sparked a media frenzy, with daily leaks -- though nothing has been proved so far -- about Modi''s unpaid tax liabilities, general corruption in the game, kickbacks and even possible match-fixing.

Result rigging is a particularly dangerous slur on the subcontinent after investigators unearthed widespread illegal betting and corruption by Indian bookmakers and some leading players in 2000.

The 2010 version of the annual IPL tournament finished with a drama-filled final in front of 50,000 fans on Sunday who saw the Chennai Super Kings beat favourites Mumbai Indians in their home city.