London: Former IPL Chairman Lalit Modi insists that BCCI chief N Srinivasan must resign in the wake of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s arrest on charges of betting. Speaking to NDTV’s Rahul Joglekar, Mr Modi also alleged that Mr Srinivasan bent rules to get the ownership of Chennai Super Kings and demanded that the IPL franchise be eliminated from the league. Mr Srinivasan’s India Cements owns Chennai Super Kings; Mr Modi insists that his son-in-law Mr Meiyappan is its actual owner.
Here’s the transcript of an excerpt from the interview:
Rahul Joglekar: Mr. Lalit Modi, what is your reaction to Gurunath Meiyappan’s arrest?
Lalit Modi: I am extremely disappointed and hurt by the fact that this is happening right now. For me an owner getting involved in betting, forget fixing, just betting, it’s totally unbelievable. There should be no leniency if that be the case. Mr. Srinivasan should immediately resign, if not resign he should be thrown out, immediately. And all those who have allowed him to do what he has done, they have to take moral responsibility, not only moral responsibility, their co-conspirators, they need to resign too. And I am very clear about the fact that if we don’t take the poison out of the system, the poison is only going to slowly grow and grow and grow and this will be the ruining of a beautiful game called cricket.
Rahul Joglekar: Sir but a lot of people say that why should Mr. N Srinivasan resign? I mean what is the reason behind you calling for his resignation?
Lalit Modi: Mr. Srinivasan owns the team. Mr. Gurunath is his son-in-law. Nothing happens in the BCCI without Mr. Srinivasan knowing or in the IPL or in the ICC as a matter of fact without the stamp of Mr. Srinivasan.
Rahul Joglekar: So you are saying categorically that Mr. Srinivasan owns the team?
Lalit Modi: I categorically say that. Very clearly I know he owns the team. I know the rules that have been bent by him…to change…to get the ownership. Very clearly, it is the biggest mistake in my life that I allowed him to have the team in the first place, I admit to that fact and I must say that I created a monster there and what he has for the game, I thought…it’s just..I mean there are no words to describe it.
Rahul Joglekar: But Mr. Modi a lot of people would say that this is less about these allegations and more for you…this is personal. You know I mean this is a feud between you and Mr. Srinivasan. Everybody knows that you know…there is a long history there. How do you respond to that?
Lalit Modi: We never had a feud in the past, when we began. The feud began if you remember and if you go back and look at my times line, look at the archives, it began by the email I shot out when he wanted to appoint umpires in South Africa in 2009. That’s when the feud began. And I did not allow that to happen. And when I came down heavily on that, that is when the war began actually. It was based upon umpires. He wanted to fix some umpires and wanted some umpires to be based for Chennai matches. In fact I went on the reverse and I posted them. That’s actually when the feud began. And when I made that public, he went on to say that Lalit is just shooting off his mouth and he has no truth in it…
Rahul Joglekar: So, for you this is not personal? I mean this is clearly only about cricket.
Lalit Modi: It is about Cricket. At the end of the day, you know this is a game that I love and I am passionate about. I spend all my time…I run a multi-billion dollar business, a family business I am involved in. But I gave my time…full time to the IPL and I did it because I love the game and I created one of the most famous leagues. Case studies have been done by Colombia and Stanford. They don’t just case studies on anybody. The case studies, they are available on my Twitter feed, they are available on my timelines. It’s all there. I mean I created something out of nothing. I did it single-handedly. And somebody is out to destroy it, of course I am going to go after him. And it’s personal against him because he…I could see the writing on the wall. And he has single-handedly been destroying cricket systematically. He has pulled a fast one over everybody and that is the reason I have gone after him. And yes it’s personal to that effect.
Rahul Joglekar: Okay, let’s turn towards the current IPL series then. What’s the road ahead? I mean because you have been calling for the team, to be scrapped? Is that correct? And if that were to happen, then what happens to the finals?
Lalit Modi: Well I am not too concerned about the finals. I am more concerned about the integrity of the tournament going forward. If the IPL has to survive and move on to Season 7 and move on to build its credibility, then we got to do the right thing. We cannot afford to say ‘oh let this final happen and then we will talk about it’ or ‘we will talk about it after the final is over, let Srinivasan continue’. I think the buck needs to stop here and needs to stop now. An action must be immediate. An action must be taken. As far as the final is concerned, now take the top 3 teams or top 4 teams in the league, in point-wise an let’s do another Semi-Finals Round and lets do the finals again, if they are so concerned about the final. But as far as I am concerned, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians already played their Finals today and Mumbai Indians won…But very categorically, Chennai Super Kings must be scrapped.