Pushed to the wall but still defiant, an embattled IPL commissioner Lalit Modi today refused to resign from his post and dared the BCCI to sack him in Monday's Governing Council meeting.
While the BCCI top brass went into a marathon huddle to chalk out the strategy to remove him from the
post, Modi showed no signs of backing down and made his intentions clear through a series of tweets.
"People pressurising me to resign - I can tell you (it) will not happen. Let them remove me then," he wrote.
"What we have done has been there for all of you to see for the past four years. No one can take that away," he said.
Modi, who has been in the eye of a storm after Income tax raids on IPL and its franchises' offices allegedly revealed financial irregularities by him, also lambasted the media for putting out unverified stories about his dealings.
"Media putting stories without verification goes to show how Media can misuse their power. Don't get influenced by all these baseless stories. Truth will prevail soon. Trial by media and no chance to present the facts is like the wild west. Wait and the facts will be delivered," he added.
Modi's tweets have made it clear that he is in no mood to go down without a fight and has set the stage for a bitter showdown with the BCCI bosses. who today rejected his emotional plea to defer the governing council meeting by five days.
With two days to go for the conclave, the pubic war of words between the two parties appear to be getting uglier with no side willing to concede an inch.
While Modi had few supporters within the 14-member Governing Council, a few franchise owners like Vijay Mallya (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Shilpa Shetty (Rajasthan Royals) and Jay Mehta (Kolkata Knight Riders) came out in his support.
On a day of fast-paced developments, the top brass of the BCCI held a series of meetings amid intense speculation that Modi would be persuaded to step down voluntarily. But as the day wore on, it became apparent that the efforts were not paying dividends with Modi not willing to buckle under pressure.
The BCCI President Shashank Manohar, vice-President Arun Jaitely, secretary N Srinivasan, IPL vice-Chairman Niranjan Shah, finance and media committee chairman Rajiv Shukla and Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty were present at the meeting.
"A decision will be taken on April 26 at the Governing Council meeting," Manohar told waiting reporters after the meeting.
The action unfolded early in the morning with Mallya meeting union minister and former BCCI President Sharad Pawar at his residence.
Although it is not known what was discussed, Mallya threw his weight behind Modi.
"I think Modi must be given some opportunity at some point of time to explain himself. This whole controversy has become an unnecessary toofan. Yes, there may be some questions about the way in which IPL runs. Clearly some governing council members may not be happy. Let all that be properly investigated," he said.
There were unconfirmed reports that Pawar wanted the BCCI to give an honourable exit to Modi, whom he had backed when the scandal initially broke out. But no BCCI official confirmed such a development.
The strong "Anti-Modi" mood within the BCCI is quite clear with the entire top brass and most of the Governing Council member boycotting the award function in Mumbai last night. The BCCI officials are also planning to skip the IPL final tomorrow.
The BCCI source said that the president is empowered to remove him as per the board constitution and there would be no legal hassles in case such an option is exercised.
Modi's decision not to move court, questioning the validity of the April 26 meeting has also raised speculation that a compromise formula is being worked out.
But the mounting pressure on BCCI to take a hard stand and clean up the entire IPL mess would make it tough for Modi to find an escape route this time around.
The BCCI is believed to be planning to form a sub-committee to run the Twenty20 league in future, according to sources.
"The idea is to carve out a smaller committee out of the present IPL Governing Council and include three or four persons to run the show instead of making it a one-man show like it was till present," the sources said.
The names mentioned in the BCCI corridors are those of Arun Jaitley, Niranjan Shah, Ravi Shastri and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi. All of them are members of IPL Governing Council headed by Modi whose days seem to be numbered.
A top BCCI source said that the Board member discussed the raging controversy and went through all the documents during the meeting to prepare the ground work.
"A lot of things were discussed during the informal meeting. A lot of time went in going through the documents. Such an exercise was necessary to lay the charges against him", the source said.
If Modi absents himself from the meeting, it appears almost certain that the Governing Council will pass a resolution against him and oust him from the post.
"There is still one day for the meeting and he may still change his decision not to resign. We want to settle this issue without any acrimony, but if he does not attend the meeting, there is no choice", the source said.
It is learnt that the Governing Council will lay the charge of financial irregularity in television and some other deals dagainst Modi.
The source also said that IPL's COO Sundar Raman has been asked to report to Manohar after the final on Sunday.
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