Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, who police say has admitted to betting on his team, had in 2010 lobbied with then Indian T20 League commissioner Lalit Modi to create a similar T20 league in the middle-east, a known betting hub.
Kundra had spearheaded a plan three years ago to organise the Middle East T20 Cricket League along with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB). Kundra and Modi had exchanged extensive correspondence in April by email on the issue.
The exchange of mails, the details of which are available with HT, talks of a T20 league by the ECB in which a consortium from Pakistan had offered to underwrite the event for 10 years paying ECB $10 million (Rs 46 crore then) per annum.
"I have just had initial meetings with Sheikh Nayan (perhaps a reference to the sports and education minister of UAE)," Kundra wrote to Modi on April 8. "He has also told me that BCCI or no BCCI, the middle east is creating a league for themselves as they have spent hundreds of millions on infrastructure, stadiums and academies.""If we do don't get the BCCI associated in some way with the middle-east league then the Pakistanis will come and make a mess of it with no financial gain to any of us and will certainly add to the dilution of our brand," Kundra had said.
Emails sent to Kundra and Rajasthan Royals spokespersons seeking their comments for this story remained unanswered.
Modi, however, had told Kundra, in no uncertain terms, to "stay out" of such ventures.
"BCCI and IPL know how to take care of themselves. Whether Pakistan or ECB, we all are very well tuned to this." Modi said.
Modi had told Kundra that a franchisee owner going out and holding discussions for a separate league could amount to breach of contract.
"There is always more than what meets the eye. Cricket politics goes beyond what one can see. There are wheels within wheels. I am just a custodian for Indian cricket and as such doing my job." Modi had written back to Kundra.
Sources confirmed to HT that Kundra was invited by the ECB in 2010 to set up a Middle East T20 cricket League and had various meetings with a number of boards around the world.