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Allegations are politically motivated, says Modi

Presenting the receipts of contributions up to Rs 5.20 crore by various IPL franchises and sponsors to the Chief Minister’s relief fund for victims of last summer’s Jaipur blasts, Modi said the FIR was “ill-conceived” and “politically motivated”. Deepti Patwardhan reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2009 02:31 IST
Deepti Patwardhan
Deepti Patwardhan
Hindustan Times

Even at the best of times, Lalit Modi is not a man of few words. Now that another FIR has been filed against him, the Indian Premier League chief spoke at length on the subject in Mumbai on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday came the news of a case being filed against Modi regarding the non-payment of a promised Rs six crore deposit to the Chief Minister’s relief fund for victims of last summer’s Jaipur blasts. Presenting the receipts of contributions up to Rs 5.20 crore by various IPL franchises and sponsors, Modi said the FIR was “ill-conceived” and “politically motivated”.

“I don’t understand how a complaint turns into a FIR on the same day without the police confirming any details,” said Modi. “After the Jaipur blasts last year, the entire IPL family decided to donate money for the cause. A few sponsors haven’t given the pledged amount yet, but are working on it. We were only the facilitators. The IPL or I did not personally promise any money, and a criminal complaint has been filed against me for the same.” He added that the latest case and the FIRs against him in recent months were meant to discredit the hard work by the IPL management. “The best part is that I only get to hear of all these cases through the media. None of the notices have been served to me; I have not seen not a single copy of the complaints.”

Regarding the dispute with the Rajasthan Cricket Association over using the Sawai Man Singh Stadium as an IPL venue, Modi said that if the matter was not cleared, the team was ready to look at alternatives away from the state.

Venues for the IPL

With the second edition of the IPL less than two months away, there is still some confusion over the host venues. Modi said that 11 venues were being looked at. That included two stadiums in Mumbai — the Cricket Club of India and the D.Y. Patil — the other seven franchisee venues, Cuttack and Ahmedabad. “The venue for the league matches will be chosen by the respective host franchises. But Chennai will decide on the semifinal venue, and they have said that they would like to have both the semis in Chennai itself.

For the final, Rajasthan have picked the CCI as their most preferred venue. We have approached the CCI with certain conditions. We would like to have a bulk of the pavilion seats and have proposed that we will give about 5,000 seats in the West stand instead. The proposal has been made and the club will take a decision on it at an EGM.”

Stand off with Big TV

The IPL ran into more trouble last week when Reliance-owned Big TV pulled out of the sponsorship deal with Sony, citing discrimination in pricing for its on-air deal. They alleged that Sony had offered Airtel DTH one-fourth the price quoted to BIG TV for their on-air sponsorship deal.

“We cannot allow any of our ground sponsors to get an unfair deal,” said Modi, insisting that the matter would be taken up with Sony and they would have to comply with the IPL contracts.

IPL’s theatrical debut

IPL’s business opportunities have extended further as major theatres have also shown an interest in showing matches live. Modi said that they would float tenders next week to invite bids from cinema halls.

So if Shah Rukh Khan, Priety Zinta or Shilpa Shetty’s movies aren’t entertaining enough, you can always look forward to their energetic performances in the IPL at the cinema hall near you.

First Published: Feb 16, 2009 23:56 IST