Mumbai:When he was announced as the replacement for Lalit Modi, he took many people by surprise. The new chief of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chirayu Amin, speaks exclusively to NDTV's Shweta Rajpal Kohli about what went wrong during the Modi regime, and how he will try to give the IPL a brand-new start.
"Everyone has his own style, I can't fit into the shoes of Mr Modi," says Amin. In fact, his quintessentially understated manner is one of the reasons that led Amin to be selected as the new IPL Chairman. Modi was suspended on Monday for 22 charges of financial impropriety by the IPL's Governing Council.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) first asked its president, Shashank Manohar, to take over from Modi, who was suspended on Monday for 22 charges of financial impropriety. Manohar said he wanted someone with considerable Marketing experience to be in charge. Amin is a leading industrialist from Baroda, a BCCI Vice-President, and the President of the Baroda Cricket Association.
"We trusted Lalit Modi that he would work in the interest of cricket," says Amin, following the official line of the IPL that it was kept largely in the dark by Modi who, allegedly, negotiated and implemented cloak-and-dagger deals that benefited either his relatives or himself. Among the more serious charges against Modi is that he orchestrated a complicated TV rights' contract for IPL matches, which included an 80 million dollar "facilitation fee" or commission, at least some of which he allegedly pocketed.
There are many who have questioned how or why nobody questioned these deals which were fairly public - the telecast one, for example, landed in court after one of the companies involved tried to challenge it. "I admit the IPL governing council could have been more vigilant, "says Amin, "The success of IPL was so dazzling that we were all basking in its glory."
Like Shashank Manohar, the chief of the IPL's parent body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Amin says that documents related to this deal and others, now under scrutiny by the Income Tax Department, are missing. "We are trying to put everything in place," he says, promising that from now on, "IPL will be run in a professional manner, new systems will be put in place."
Addressing a key constituency, IPL team-owners, who've so far been vocal in their support of Modi, Amin says, "Team owners will be assured that their investments are safe and they will flourish."
Known for his diplomatic skills, Amin says of Modi, "He asked for five days, we've given him 15. Let us be fair to Lalit Modi, wait for him to come up with answers." The BCCI has said that if in the next two weeks, Modi supplies an explanation that is convincing, it will drop charges against him. If not, a formal inquiry will begin.
Modi is already being investigated by Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate officials for alleged tax evasion, kickbacks, and undeclared holdings in IPL teams.
The BCCI also says that Modi rigged bids for IPL teams when they were being auctioned. Amin says he's working on more transparency in a system that has confounded many. "New bidding processes and rules will be put in place, we won't get into any grey zones anymore," says Amin, looking forward. "It's a dark hour for IPL management, not for cricket."