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Indian Premier League Cricket Chairman Suspended in Corruption Probe

Indian cricket authorities have suspended the chairman of cricket's richest sporting event, following allegations of graft and corruption. The controversy has spread from cricket to politics.

The Board of Control for Cricket of India announced Lalit Modi's suspension after stating that the "alleged misdemeanors" of the man who launched the Indian Premier League had brought a bad name to the administration of cricket and the game itself.

A new interim chairman has been named - Chirayu Amin.

Started in 2008, the IPL has become a hugely popular sports competition valued at more than $4-billion.

The IPL features eight teams in a double round-robin elimination a and a final knockout round.

IPL franchises are sponsored by Bollywood stars and some of India's richest businessmen. But in the past week, allegations of widespread financial irregularities have cast a long shadow on South Asia's most popular sports tournament.

Modi has been asked to answer a host of charges that range from the awarding of a broadcast deal, the initial bids for two city teams, and rigging bids of two new clubs. He has denied wrongdoing.

The President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Shashank Manohar, cited the need for transparency in the hugely popular sport.

"Ethics and transparency is more important in such an event," said Manohar. "As far as IPL is concerned, we knew that this is a huge property and a valuable property."

The scandal around IPL has snowballed beyond cricket to politics. A junior minister resigned last week amid reports that he influenced the awarding of a new franchise in which his girl friend received a free stake.

Parliament has been in an uproar on several days with opposition politicians demanding a parliamentary probe into allegations that millions of dollars paid for IPL clubs could have come in from tax havens.

The opposition also wants an investigation in the possible involvement of politicians who are associated with the Board of Cricket Control Tax authorities have begun an investigation into the finances of the cash rich tournament.

Modi, who is widely acknowledged as the driving force behind the IPL, has referred to the controversy as "innuendoes and half truths."

The IPL involves a fast paced, short, television-friendly version of cricket.

With international cricketers playing in it, and top Bollywood stars who own several teams putting in an appearance at matches, it has overshadowed other cricket events in a country where this sport is an obsession. The IPL's new interim Chairman, Chirayu Amin says the immediate task is to clean-up the lucrative tournament.