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IPL COO questioned

cricket Updated: Sep 27, 2010 23:35 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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When, earlier this year, allegations flew thick and fast over the involvement of political bigwigs in the drafting in of the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, one of the people to come under the scanner was Poorna Patel, appointed Manager (Hospitality and Manager Services) in August 2009 by the now suspended IPL chairman, Lalit Modi. Patel, the daughter of Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel, was taken on at an annual salary of Rs 28 lakh. No evidence or appearance of any wrongdoing on her part was found.

On Monday though, she and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman were both under scrutiny again, when the IPL Governing Council met one last time at the Indian cricket board’s (BCCI) headquarters here before its proposed restructuring during Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting of the Board. They were were questioned by five Governing Council members in connection with discrepancies in the sales of ‘hospitality’ tickets.

The BCCI’s internal auditors pointed out that the accounts from ticket sales of the four knockout ties during the IPL’s third edition did not match. On further investigation, it was revealed that a whopping Rs 76.22 crore “just could not be traced”.

“When ticketgenie.com, who were handling the sale of tickets without signing any contract, were questioned, they clarified that the hospitality tickets, which were priced the highest, was handled directly by the IPL,” a BCCI source told the HT after the meeting.

The proceeds from about 10,200 tickets for the semifinals, the third-place play-off and the final could not be traced by the Governing Council. The high-end hospitality tickets for both semifinals were priced at Rs 80,000 each, while they were at Rs 50,000 per ticket for the play-off and Rs 100,000 each for the final.

BCCI sources said both Patel and Sundar Raman will have to come up with satisfactory replies to retain their jobs. “Since she was directly handling it and was reporting to Sundar, neither can shy away from the responsibility,” said the source.

Besides this, there’s another possible scam in the making. BCCI sources said it was recently learnt that Modi had signed a Rs. 5.5 crore contract with a Delhi-based firm called Visual Impact, to provide security screening equipment and security vehicles.

“It has emerged that the firm offloaded the contract to Petronet Cyber Solutions for Rs 1.5 crore. Moreover, when a BCCI team visited the address of Visual Impact, it turned out to be a guest house. This means the firm didn’t exist and Rs four crore was misappropriated,” the source said. Neither Patel nor Sundar Raman could be contacted for comment.