BCCI President Shashank Manohar today gave a clean chit to the successful bid by Rendezvous Sports World which bagged the Kochi IPL franchise for USD 333 million and said the Board was not concerned whether the bid-winner gives away sweat equity or not.
"That's been accepted and document is signed. And we're not concerned if he (Rendezvous owner) gives sweat equity to someone or not. That's his problem, he can give 100 per cent as sweat equity," Manohar told reporters at a press conference in Mumbai.
The Kochi franchise was under the scanner after the now-suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi revealed its ownership pattern by stating that Sunanda Pushkar, a friend of former junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor, owned free equity in the consortium.
Modi accused Tharoor of asking him not to reveal the ownership details -- a charge denied by the former minister who had to resign in the wake of the controversy.
Manohar also said there were no irregularities with regard to the two new IPL franchises -- Kochi and Pune (Sahara Adventure Group).
"There is no question of irregularities with regard to the two new franchises. Because of the bid conditions, which were unreasonable when the first tender was issued, the (IPL) Governing Council took a decision to cancel that tender," Manohar said.
Asked about the charges levelled against Modi, Manohar said the charges basically relate to the initial bid of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, allegations relating to broadcasting deal, bid rigging of two new franchises (Kochi and Pune), internet rights and behaviorial pattern.
Attacking Modi, he referred to the former IPL Chairman's statement that the entire world knew about the IPL affairs but said even the members of the Governing Council were not aware of matters.
He cited the example of Rajasthan Royals franchise of the Jaipur IPL team in which shares of two persons are sold and tranfered to certain individuals and certain companies.
"There is a company called Tresco and Blue Water... nobody knows what is Blue Water and what is Tresco and all these things. I did not find in the shareholders register the name of Raj Kundra or Shilpa Shetty who claim to be the stakeholders," Manohar said
As regards Kings XI Punjab, Manohar said the bids were given in the name of a company and was signed by Preity Zinta who did not hold a single share in that company when the bid was given.
He also referred to registration of a company in Britain four months after which its bid was accepted. The company Emerging Media is a co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals.
"We are asking Modi, how can he sign an agreement with A when the bid came from B. Modi made a statement that the entire world knows who the shareholders are but the fact is that not even the Governing Council members know about Rajasthan Royals. I did not find the names of Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra in the papers and they claim to be stakeholders," he revealed.
For all the allegations against Modi, Manohar said if he manages to convince the Board of his innocence in his reply, the inquiry proceedings against him would be dropped.
"It is the duty of the Board to look into the allegations and to have an inquiry it is important to suspend the person concerned. It's not punishment. The person has to be kept out of the Board's functioning to ensure a free and fair inquiry.
"The Board would hold an inquiry and if Modi's reply convinces the members, proceedings would be dropped," he said.
Asked whether the Board was worried about Modi's threats of exposing other BCCI office-bearers, Manohar said there was no concern.
"The BCCI is not worried. If there are other others guilty, we will sack them and take the same action," he said.
On whether he would share the blame for the scandal, Manohar said the whole system worked on faith and he could not be held responsible for entrusting Modi with the job.