With the public showdown between Lalit Modi and minister Shashi Tharoor over the Kochi franchise snowballing into a major controversy, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to convene a meeting of the IPL Governing Council within 10 days to discuss and take a decision on the episode.
A day after Modi disclosed that Sunanda Pushkar, who is reportedly close to Tharoor, has stake worth close to Rs 70 crores in the Kochi team, the controversy took a serious turn on Tuesday, with the minister saying that Modi's tweets are "an extraordinary breach of all propriety" and designed to discredit the franchise.
The BCCI has taken serious view of the public spat between the IPL commissioner and the Minister of State for External Affairs which could now have ramifications beyond the IPL.
"BCCI president has decided to convene an IPL Governing Council meeting within 10 days to discuss all the issues and take a decision," BCCI spokesman Rajiv Shukla told reporters after a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence.
Shukla, who maintained that his meeting with Sonia Gandhi had nothing to do with the Tharoor issue, said, "Whatever allegations have been made from both the sides, all those issues will be deliberated upon at the meeting of the Governing Council.
"I don't want to make a comment or any observation on what one has said against the other. All I am trying to suggest is that all these issues will be discussed in the meeting convened by the BCCI president," he said.
Asked whether he had a discussion with Sonia Gandhi on Tharoor's role in the IPL Kochi team, Shukla replied, "I had no discussion with Sonia Gandhi on this issue. It was a regular meeting with the AICC president."
Asked whether the BCCI took the public spat between Modi and Tharoor seriously, Shukla replied, "BCCI president understands the urgency of the issue, that's why he has convened the meeting."
According to a top BCCI source, Lalit Modi's tweets have not gone down well with the top brass of the cricket board, as he has often announced important decisions without taking the consent of the governing body.
After receiving a complaint from the Kochi franchise on Modi's indiscretion, BCCI president Shashank Manohar shot off a strongly-worded letter to the IPL commissioner, criticizing his decision to make public the ownership details.
"The issue, if any, could have been discussed at the governing council meeting and that action on your part of raising it on Twitter is unbecoming of you as a chairman of the a sub-committee of the board. Your action is in serious breach of the confidentiality clause in the agreement," Manohar wrote.
"Till date, you have made public statements about a lot of issues which were not even discussed in the meetings of the governing council when it is the governing council which has the authority to take decisions with regard to each and every issue related to IPL," Manohar said.
Modi, on his part, responded to Manohar's letter by saying his revelations on Twitter were "in no way a breach of confidentiality". He said the Kochi franchise "had a lot to hide" and as such have lied about who are the actual owners of the shares.
Although the BCCI has not fixed a date for its next governing council meeting, a source said, judging by the gravity of the situation, the meeting could be convened as early as possible.
"The BCCI has a Working Committee meeting on April 24 and the Finance Committee meeting is scheduled on April 23. Since most of the officials will be there, the governing council meeting could be slated for 23rd," the source added.
Modi had on Sunday disclosed the names of the free equity holders in the little-known Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) which coughed up approximately Rs 1533 crore to bag the Kochi franchise, a move that put Tharoor in a spot of bother as Sunanda figured in the list.
Miffed by the disclosure, RSW threatened to send a legal notice to Modi and accused the IPL Commissioner of breaking the confidentiality terms.
Modi hinted there was pressure on him not to reveal the details of who all owns Rendezvous.
"I was told not to get into who owns Rendezvous, specially Sunanda Pushkar. Why?" said Modi.
Tharoor had all along denied having a stake in the Kochi franchise, saying he played merely a facilitator's role.
In a lengthy rejoinder on Tuesday, Tharoor denied calling Modi and requesting him not to disclose details of the RSW stakeholders.