In the eye of storm over its ownership pattern, Indian Premier League's Kochi franchise on Thursday alleged that IPL commissioner Lalit Modi is targetting the new team under pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The Kochi team is under the scanner for allegedly giving 'free equity' to Dubai-based entrepreneur Sunanda Pushkar, who is a close friend of the Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.
"We were told that we wouldn't be allowed to work. The Adani group and Narendra Modi had a stake in the Ahmedabad IPL bid.
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," the franchise' spokesperson Satyajit Gaekwad told reporters here.
"The inaugural IPL bidding happened when Vasundhra Raje Scindia was Rajasthan's Chief minister. Vasundhra and Narendra Modi may have put pressure on Lalit (Modi) to bring a team to Ahmedabad. There is politics involved," he added.
Gaekwad said Modi should make the ownership pattern of other franchises 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. Government should investigate.
We are clean and we have nothing to hide," he asserted.
Modi has alleged that Kochi is not coming out clean on their stakeholders.
But his accusations have opened a can of worms and questions are also being raised about the IPL commissioner's own business interests in Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.