MUMBAI (AFP) Indian cricket authorities suspended the driving force behind the money-spinning IPL tournament on Monday in a bid to stem an escalating crisis over corruption and match-fixing allegations. Following a week of intense speculation that Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi faced the axe, the news came just hours after the final on Sunday night of a tournament he built into a multi-billion-dollar industry. We regard the IPL as a great property but ethics and transparency are more important than the brand, Shashank Manohar, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), told a news conference in Mumbai. The suspension is necessary for a free and fair inquiry. Its not a punishment, he added after an emergency meeting of the board. The BCCI, which owns the IPL, nevertheless accuses Modi of alleged acts of individual misdemeanours and is scrutinising his financial dealings in relation to the tournament, which began in 2008. The seeds of his downfall were sown two weeks ago when he revealed the ownership details of a new franchise set to join the glitzy and globally popular IPL in 2011. On the microblogging site Twitter, he embarrassed a high-profile member of the government, junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, by leaking how Tharoors girlfriend had been given a free stake in the new team. Under pressure from the opposition, which accused Tharoor of misusing his office to secure benefit for himself, the minister was forced to resign, embarrassing the Congress-led government. Since then, the finance ministry has launched a wide-ranging tax probe into the IPL, the BCCI and its franchise owners powerful business and Bollywood figures and many blame Modi for bringing the tax man to their door. The investigation has sparked a media frenzy, with daily leaks though nothing has been proved so far alleging Modis unpaid tax liabilities, general corruption in the game, kickbacks and even possible match-fixing. Result rigging is a particularly dangerous slur on the subcontinent after investigators unearthed widespread illegal betting and corruption by Indian bookmakers and some leading players in 2000. Modi, 46, has been defiant in recent days but cut an increasingly isolated figure amid pressure from the government and ebbing support among his cricket contemporaries. On Sunday night, he sat smiling from his executive seat as he watched the final, in which Chennai Super Kings beat favourite Mumbai Indians in front of 50,000 people, and spoke to the crowd during the prize-giving ceremony. I assure millions of passionate fans of the league and the game across the globe that the IPL is clean and transparent, he said. We should not allow this brand to be diluted and we will not. On Twitter, he has threatened to reveal the men who have tried to bring disrepute to the game after the end of the tournament and, with no sign of him on Monday, suspense grew about his likely response. Asked by Indian news channel NDTV whether he would challenge the suspension in court, he said: No comment. A brash figure and a fan of the high-life, Modi was virtually unknown outside cricket circles until five years ago when he was made the youngest ever vice-president of the BCCI. Three years later, the BCCIs revenues had tripled after Modi launched the IPL, featuring the worlds top cricketers playing a shortened, made-for-TV format of the game. Before launching the first tournament in 2008, the IPL organisers studied the English Premier League football tournament and sought to emulate its mix of high-profile overseas stars, homegrown talent and foreign coaches. The IPL then went a step further by bringing in a host of A-list celebrities from the only thing that rivals cricket as a Indias national obsession the film industry. Three Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty own IPL teams. Businessman Chirayu Amin, who runs a pharmaceutical business in the western city of Vadodara, has been named the interim chief of the IPL. Amin is one of the five vice-presidents of the BCCI and a member of the IPLs governing council.