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BCCI president steps in to end Modi-Tharoor spat

The Indian Premier League governing council will meet in 10 days to discuss the fallout of the spat between its chairman Lalit Kumar Modi and union minister Shashi Tharoor over the ownership of the Kochi franchise.

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2010 19:37 IST

The Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council will meet in 10 days to discuss the fallout of the spat between its chairman Lalit Kumar Modi and union minister Shashi Tharoor over the ownership of the Kochi franchise.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) vice-president, and its spokesman, Rajiv Shukla said Tuesday that considering the seriousness of the issue, board president Shashank Manohar has decided to call for the IPL governing council meeting to sort out the thorny issue.

An influential member of the governing council has in a communication to the BCCI president asked him to immediately call the governing council meeting to discuss the matter and agreed with the cricket board chief that the board officials must stop the proxy war through Twitter and leaked confidential e-mails.

"I agree with Manohar, you can't conduct the board affairs on twitter or e-mails that reach the media even before they reach the recipient," the senior official told IANS not wanting to be named.

Manohar, in a hard-hitting mail to Modi for using Twitter to reveal serious issues, questioned the propriety of his vice-president and IPL commissioner in revealing the stakes of the Kochi franchisee and his style of going public on various issues without bringing them to the governing council.

Modi, however, insisted that there was nothing confidential about what he stated regarding the franchisee, which seemed to hide more than what it revealed about its owners.

Shukla, talking to reporters here, has delinked the ruling Congress party from Tharoor, making it clear that the party has nothing to do with the ongoing tussle and that it was purely a matter between the Minister of State for External Affairs and Modi.

Earlier in the day, Tharoor slammed Modi, who alleged that the minister requested him not to reveal the names of the stakeholders of the consortium that won the franchise of the Kochi team.

Tharoor's officer on special duty Jacob Joseph also took a shot at Modi by uploading a news link on his Twitter that points to Modi's conviction in a drug related case in the US in 2008.

Tharoor, who played the role of a mentor for the consortium in clinching the IPL deal worth Rs.1,530 crore, said in a statement that he had called up Modi to ask why he was further delaying the approval of the franchise when all the legal requirements had been fulfilled.

"Modi had held up the approval by the IPL of the franchisee agreement earlier in the day by insisting on the reversal of a change in the document that he himself had earlier suggested. This change was made, the consortium members flew to Bangalore and met with Modi after that night's IPL game for what they had been told would be a routine exercise.

"Instead, they were submitted to a barrage of questions which led some to suspect that Modi was seeking a further excuse to delay approval. This was the reason for my intervention. Had he conducted himself in good faith throughout, no call would have been necessary," Tharoor said.

Tharoor said: "The unethical efforts that have been made by Modi and others to thwart the Kerala franchise which had been won fair and square in a transparent bidding process are disgraceful.

"It has been clear for some time that the real motive is to assign this IPL team elsewhere than Kerala. The public attempts by Modi to besmirch the consortium in fact bring the IPL itself into disrepute," he said.

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 that has 25 percent of the franchise for free; of this 18 percent is given to Tharoor's friend Sunanda Pushkar and the balance is divided among three other Rendezvous members.

"I was told by him (Tharoor) not to get into who owns rendezvous. Specially Sunanda Pushkar. Why? The same has been minuted in my records," he tweeted.

Tharoor denied having any financial interests in the franchise.

"I have neither invested nor received a rupee for my mentorship of the team. Whatever my personal relationships with any of the consortium members, I do not intend to benefit in any way financially from my association with the team now or at a later stage," he said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2010 19:31 IST