CVC Capital Partners was cleared after legal scrutiny, says BCCI official
Forty eight hours after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) awarded franchise rights as part of the Indian Premier League’s expansion to two new parties—RP Sanjiv Goenka Group and Irelia Co Pvt Ltd (CVC Capital Partners) for a total of Rs. 12,715 crore, ethical and legal questions are being raised around the winning parties.
RPSG, which made the winning bid of Rs. 7,090 crore to acquire the Lucknow franchise, is seen as being in conflict because BCCI president Sourav Ganguly is a director in ATK Mohun Bagan, the football club owned by the group. “Ganguly has already initiated the move to step down from directorship,” a BCCI official said. “He was always going to do that, in case they happened to win the bid. That’s always how issues of conflict are addressed.”
More serious questions are being raised about CVC Capital Partners for its business interests in betting firms in the international market. “I guess betting companies can buy a @ipl team. must be a new rule. apparently one qualified bidder also owns a big betting company. does @BCCI not do homework. what can Anti corruption do in such a case?” tweeted former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi. He was suspended from the IPL post in 2010. CVC Capital Partners was awarded the Ahmedabad franchise for a bid of Rs. 5,625 crore.
According to past press statements issued by CVC Capital Partners, it acquired a majority stake in Malta-headquartered betting operators Tipico, which has a major base in Germany too, in 2016 after taking a controlling stake in UK’s Sky Betting and Gaming in 2014. Betting is legal is those regions. None of these entities have business operations in India, where betting is illegal. Queries to CVC remained unanswered.
A BCCI official who did not wish to be named said the board had done due diligence and only after legal scrutiny was CVC cleared. “Private firms have always got investments in various entities. So long as they are not investing in a banned business under the Indian law, there is no problem there,” the official said.
However, it is learnt BCCI did another round of legal scrutiny of CVC’s investments on Wednesday, on whether there was any non-declaration on its part while submitting the bid. The BCCI official said “none of the bidding parties had raised an issue with the winning bids”.
While RPSG and CVC Capital Partners made the highest bids in Monday’s auction, the third highest bid was made by Adani Sportline Pvt Ltd to the tune of ₹5,100 crores. This is the second time that Ahmedabad based Adani group has lost an IPL bid for a team, having previously made an unsuccessful bid in 2010.