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Disappointed, Pune group lashes out at IPL

cricket Updated: Mar 09, 2010 18:20 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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The IPL’s decision to re-tender the bidding process for two new teams, dropping several restrictive clauses, might increase the number of prospective clients, but it certainly has put off one of the existing buyers.

The bid for a team in Pune, from the Videocon group, led by Venugpal Dhoot, Panchshil Realty’s founder Chairman Atul Chordia and including the Bollywood couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, might well back out, and not take a second shot at team ownership on March 21.

“We had a very good consortium between me, Saif, Kareena and Videocon. Our mood is off now, I don’t think it (the Chennai bid) will happen now,” a disgruntled Chordia told the Hindustan Times. “For the last eight days, we have worked so hard on it - things like branding, merchandising, paper work. Maybe today is a wrong day to ask me.”

Chordia blasted the manner in which the IPL put off the tender procedure and issued a new one.

“When the BCCI have an efficient team with eminent lawyers and businessmen, why did they put stringent conditions in place and then take a U-turn? If there was no bid, I could have understood,” said Chordia. “There were three legitimate bids. I just can’t understand the motive behind this,” said Chordia, referring to the IPL Governing Council’s decision to call off the procedure arbitrarily.

“They just cancelled the bid without giving any reason. We were completely legitimate, we had completed all the paperwork, we had fulfilled all the conditions. If they didn’t want a stringent tender, why did they float one in the first place? Even on Saturday they said they were opening it on Sunday. The manner in which it was done was not at all sporting.”

Chordia did not hold back when commenting on the IPL’s last-minute decision. “If you don’t want the open the tender, you cancel it. Don’t rebid it. When there were three bids, you could have opened it. The minimum valuation was $ 225 million, which is about Rs 1,100 crore. So we had definitely put at least Rs 1,100 crore,” he said.

Besides all the hard work, the consortium could also suffer monetary losses for no fault of theirs.

The partners have spent a whopping sum in order to fulfil all requirements. “We must have spent more than Rs 10 crore to get everything organised,” Chordia said.

If Chordia and Co are disillusioned and put their IPL plans on hold, it could very well be a case of so-near-yet-so-far for cricket fans in Pune.