Former Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi's involvement in planning the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) is all but certain.
However, the BCCI said that Modi's involvement had nothing to do with its decision to disallow Indian players from participating in the Twenty20 tournament."His involvement in the SLPL was well-known. But it has no connection with the decision to prevent players from playing the SLPL," a BCCI insider told HT on Monday, the day Modi lashed out at BCCI bigwigs on Twitter. "The only reason is that we don't want players to be left in the lurch in case the private company that is contracting them for the tournament is unable to pay them."
HT on Sunday had reported that the BCCI had decided to prevent a dozen Indians from participating in the seven-team tournament to protect them.
However, Modi's involvement in SLPL, which begins on July 19, is just too interesting to ignore. An insider claimed that Modi had started planning the SLPL almost two years ago. “It was around the time the breakaway T20 leagues were being planned in England and Abu Dhabi that he met with some of the political bigwigs in Sri Lanka,” the source said.
Moreover, it was learnt that a former marketing head of the IPL is now working on SLPL as part of the Somerset Entertainment Ventures Pvt Ltd (SEV) team. The person concerned was associated with the Rajasthan Royals, whose major stakeholders are from Modi's family.
“He was one of the first persons to be thrown out of the BCCI after the Modi scandal was exposed,” the source added.
Another source from Colombo said that Modi had visited the island nation “two months ago”. “Since the SLC wanted to keep it secret, instead of putting him up in a Colombo hotel, they booked him at a hotel in Mount Lavinia (a place near Colombo),” he added.
Modi refused to comment. When asked to respond to the allegations about him coaxing a political leader into launching SLPL and about his recent visit to Lanka, Modi told HT, “Said what I needed to on Twitter.