The ongoing IPL controversy took a political turn on Thursday with the name of Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, being dragged into it by the consortium, which won the bid for the Kochi team.
Adding a twist to the tale was Nationalist Congress Party chief, Sharad Pawar, as he advised the consortium to stay put in Kochi after some of the members met him.
The spokesman for Rendezvous Sports World Private Ltd said IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi, was working under pressure from the Gujarat CM, but the state government dismissed the allegation as “baseless”.
“The whole world knows about the nexus of the Gujarat chief minister with Lalit Modi, and he put pressure on the IPL commissioner to bring a team to Ahmedabad,” the consortium spokesman, Satyajit Gaikwad, told reporters outside Parliament House.
“We were told that we won't be allowed to work, since the chief minister was unhappy as the team in which he had a stake could not win the bid,” he said.
Pawar said four members of the consortium met him after last month's auction and asked for his help in transferring the Kochi team to Ahmedabad. “I said if you want my advice, you should stay in Kochi,” Pawar said.
But Gaikwad had a different version. “After we won the bid, our investors spoke to (former BCCI chief) Sharad Pawar and asked him which city to choose. He said ‘you can take your pick’, so we decided to take Kochi,” he said.
Gaikwad, a former Congress MP from Gujarat, said, “politics was involved in the matter.”
He demanded the ownership pattern of other franchises should also be made public and sought government intervention in the matter.
“Since Modi has disclosed all the stakeholders of the Kochi team, he should also furnish details of other franchises. I ask the government to reveal the ownership details of other IPL teams under the corporate law. The Government should investigate. We are clean and we have nothing to hide,” the Congress leader said.
The Gujarat government dismissed the allegations, terming them as “baseless”.
“The franchise was awarded to the team following the open bidding process and in that Gujarat Cricket Association president Narendra Modi had no role to play,” said Amit Shah, the state home minister. “These allegations were levelled not by the promoters of the Kochi team but by political persons, and cricket should be above politics,” Shah said. The minister said any team that wanted to play in Ahmedabad was welcome. “The best of facilities and crowds will be provided,” he said.