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Mohali IPL mess reaches a new low

With the Punjab police asking for nearly Rs 18 million for security cover for Mohali matches, ties between the district administration and the PCA and IPL Mohali franchise have hit a new low.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Mohali
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2008 03:44 PM IST

With the Punjab police demanding that nearly Rs18 million be deposited with it for pending dues of security cover provided for cricket matches at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali, ties between the security force and the district administration on one side and the PCA and Indian Premier League (IPL) Mohali franchise on the other have hit a new low.

A terse communication from the Mohali district police chief R.S. Khatra to the deputy commissioner Sunday has demanded that the security dues be realised from PCA before the next IPL match to be played here Tuesday failing which no security will be provided for the last IPL match to be played in Mohali.

The Mohali police has been stationing between 500 to 1,000 security personnel at IPL matches here. Seven matches were to be played here this IPL season and only one remains to be played, the one on Tuesday. The crucial tie is between the home team and IPL's top team Rajasthan Royals.

The war of words and letter between the police and the IPL franchise, Kings XI Punjab - jointly owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and her industrialist beau Ness Wadia and two other businessmen - have hit a new low with Khatra moving an official communication complaining to the district and state top brass of the 'misbeaviour' and 'insult' heaped on him by Wadia.

Khatra and Wadia were involved in a verbal spat at the PCA pavilion Friday after Wadia accused the Punjab police of black-marketing of tickets, allowing unauthorised entry into the stadium and also stealing liquor bottles and Mohali team T-shirts from the pavilion lounge in Mohali.

Wadia capped it by reportedly telling Khatra “I don't talk to small and mean people like you”. Khatra brought this statement on record in his communication Sunday.

The Punjab police have been ensuring near full attendance inside the stadium and many of the spectators have friends in the police force in lieu of tickets.

But the Mohali franchise has not been without its share of controversies either.

The last one was the racism charge made by two cheer-leaders from Britain who alleged that they were asked to leave the stadium April 19 as the franchise owners did not want dark-skinned people to perform during the match. Zinta and Wadia have failed to respond to the accusation directly.

Earlier, the Mohali team management had asked at least five players, including Punjab Ranji team captain Pankaj Dharmani, to leave the team hotel as their services were not required this season, though they had been contracted for the IPL team.

Shortly after the start of the IPL tournament this year, the Mohali team was in the middle of a major controversy after its fast bowler S Sreesanth was slapped by spinner Harbhajan Singh at the PCA stadium in Mohali last month.

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