Beleaguered Lalit Modi on Monday found support from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) owner Vijay Mallya, who credited the IPL commissioner for the cash-awash Twenty20 league's mind-boggling success.
Throwing his weight behind Modi, Mallya said IPL owes its success to Modi and also wondered at the hue and cry raised over trans-border transaction by some of the IPL franchisees.
"Unfortunately, this entire issue has snowballed into an unnecessary storm," Mallya said.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm full of appreciation for what Lalit Modi has delivered through the IPL. If he has issues with the Government of India, that's his private matter and he needs to deal with it," said the liquor and aviation tycoon.
Modi opened a Pandora's box when he revealed the IPL Kochi franchise ownership, which cost union minister Shashi Tharoor his job, while the Income Tax authorities raided IPL office in Mumbai, grilled Modi and shot off a 10-point questionnaire to the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Allegations of money laundering and betting are also doing the rounds and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said all aspects, including the sources and routes of funding of teams, will be thoroughly probed.
Mallya, however, sees nothing wrong with the transaction made through Mauritius.
"Cross-border transaction is part and parcel of the growth and development of Indian economy. Just because some investment has been routed through Mauritius doesn't make it tainted investment," said Mallya.
He said RCB has a clean slate and he has no doubts that other franchises also have unsullied record.
"As far as RCB is concerned, we've notified the stock exchange, replied to the Registrar of Companies and we are clean. I'm sure all other franchises would also love to be transparent," Mallya told a television channel.
He also dismissed reports that the franchise owners are meeting for Friday's IPL Award ceremony in Mumbai where they would discuss the issue with BCCI officials, after which Modi would be removed from the IPL commissioner's role.
"I'm not aware of any such meeting. But if there is a meeting of the franchise owners, I will attend as I always do. But as of now, I'm not aware of any such initiative to dislodge Modi," Mallya said.
Photograph: IPL/Getty Images