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Suspended IPL boss seeks reinstatement

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
  • Lawyer for suspended IPL chief delivers documents making case for reinstatement
  • Lalit Modi suspended last month from his post as head of Indian Premier League
  • Suspension comes amid a scandal involving allegations of money laundering

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- The suspended head of the Indian Premier League (IPL) sent 9,000 pieces of documents to the country's cricket governing body this past weekend in response to allegations of corruption against him.

A lawyer for Lalit Modi, who carried the documents in six cardboard boxes to the governing body's offices on Saturday, said Modi should be immediately reinstated in the sport project he built two years ago.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended Modi last month as the chief of the IPL after it became the subject of a government investigation for suspected tax evasion, money laundering and betting.

Modi was in Europe Saturday when his lawyer Mehmood Abdi carted the documents to the BCCI office in Mumbai in response to a notice served on Modi after his suspension.

Abdi did not disclose the contents of Modi's response, but insisted it "sufficiently and fully" addressed "all issues" raised by cricket officials.

Modi, who denies any wrongdoing, is under BCCI investigation over alleged irregularities in bids for clubs and in a broadcast deal among other financial transactions.

"From our side, everything has been explained threadbare," Abdi told reporters after submitting papers with BCCI chief administration officer Ratnakar Shetty.

Abdi demanded Modi be given back his position as IPL chairman and commissioner and other posts that he had been suspended from.

But the sport administration said it would follow its laid-down procedures and give copies of the submitted documents to board officials.

In 2008, the IPL spiced up cricket with a maiden tournament of a shortened, razzle-dazzle version of the sport.

Soon, it had business tycoons, movie actors, multinational advertisers, star international players and a billion viewers on its hook. The venture flourished despite the global recession.

But last month, the league plunged into a crisis when the federal authorities ordered a probe into its financing.

"I can assure the honorable members that all aspects of (the) IPL, including its source of funding, from where the funds were routed, how they have been invested, etc., are being looked into and the appropriate action as per law will be taken," Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told parliament in April. "No guilty or wrongdoers will be spared," he said.

The alleged scam surfaced when Modi accused India's junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor of using his position to secure a stake for a female friend in a $333 million bid for a new team.

Modi made the accusation in a tweet on the social networking site, Twitter.

Tharoor rejected the allegations, insisting he was only a "mentor" to the consortium that had bought the new club in last month's auction.

Nonetheless, the 54-year-old minister resigned as opposition pressure mounted on him to quit government.

Lawmakers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and some of the country's powerful regional political outfits have slammed the league's cricket format. Some sought a complete ban on the league, while others demanded it be nationalized.

After Tharoor's exit from office, the focus shifted mainly to Modi, the man credited with raising the IPL as one of the world's hottest sporting properties, also billed as the planet's richest cricket tournament.