Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday was delivered a simple message by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram: Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi was bad company.
Pawar was told the government was getting “incriminating details” on Modi’s alleged role in helping his family and friends buy stakes in various IPL teams and related businesses.
Pawar was reportedly confronted with details of the “irregularities” of the IPL bidding process under Modi, which included telephone transcripts and other documents obtained by government agencies in the last few days.
Among the irregularities pointed out was the promise of sweat equity to the son-in-law of a Union cabinet minister by a bidder if they won a team — one of the two auctioned recently.
Pawar had sought this meeting, apparently to sort the “gap” in perception between the two sides. And they did sort a few things, mostly as per a script dictated by the Congress: distance yourself from Modi.
Neither party spoke to reporters after their meeting.
“Absolutely not,” said Mukherjee when asked if the three discussed IPL.
Pawar has been Modi’s staunchest supporter, and defended the IPL chief’s decision to reveal ownership details of the Kochi franchise.
The tension between the Congress and the NCP over the issue saw Union Minister Praful Patel charging a section of the ruling party of launching a “slanderous campaign” about his involvement in the matter. “A section of the Congress party is spreading a slanderous campaign against me,” Patel, who is also NCP general secretary, said . “I am happy that government has ordered a probe into it and now truth will come out,” Patel said. Meanwhile, Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, MP, denied anyone from her family had anything to do with any of the IPL franchises. “I say with full conviction that my husband (Sadanand Sule) or family has nothing to do with these issues.”