Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi maintained on Wedneday that there was a question mark over the ownership of the Kochi franchise as the owners themselves did not know some of the people involved with it.
Modi, who had been pulled up over the issue by the Indian cricket board chief, however, played it down saying that this is a small issue and it would be sorted out after the IPL is over.
"With regards to the eight franchisees, we know about all the stake holders, but there are still some doubts over the ownership of the Kochi franchise. Even the people who signed the tender documents don't know who they are," Modi told reporters here.
Modi said he had nothing to hide and "this is a small issue, but an issue nevertheless".
"Will deal with Kochi once the IPL is over. I will also explain my side to the IPL governing council and we have no hidden agenda, no hidden stakes," he said.
Modi and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, who mentored the Kochi deal, are engaged in a spat over the ownership of Rendezvous Sports World, one of the stake holders in the consortium that bought the Kochi franchise for Rs.1,530 crore.
Modi claimed in his tweets that he was asked not to get into who owns the Rendezvous Sports World. One of the partners in the consortium has 25 percent of the franchise for free and of this 18 percent is given to Tharoor's friend Sunanda Pushkar and the balance is divided among three other Rendezvous members.
On Tuesday, Tharoor issued a detailed statement, claiming that Modi had acted in "bad faith" in a bid to transfer the IPL franchise from Kerala, the minister's home state, to some other place. "It has been clear for some time that the real motive is to assign this IPL team elsewhere than Kerala," he said.
Tharoor has denied having asked Modi not to reveal the identity of the stakeholders of Rendezvous, especially of Sunanda Pushkar, a woman who the minister admitted he knew well.