Modi offered us 50 million dollars to sell team: Kochi owners

The owners of the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) Team have exchanged a new round of accusations with IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

updated: April 15, 2010 09:25 IST
  • Total Shares

New Delhi:

The owners of the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) Team have exchanged a new round of accusations with IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

Now, the CEO of the Kochi franchise, Shailendar Gaekwad, claims that Modi offered them 50 million dollars to sell the team. A sign, says Gaekawad, that Modi desperately wanted a new IPL franchise in another part of the country instead of Kochi.

Attacking Modi for repeating on Wednesday that it's not clear exactly who owns the team, the owners retorted, "How can Modi say 'We don't know who the owners are'."

The consortium that won the bid for the Kochi team for 1530 crores is led by Rendezvous Sports Group and claims that its members submitted all required documents to the IPL, "including our PAN cards."

Gaekwad, said that at a meeting with Modi, "We were asked a lot of personal questions about some of our owners which we could not readily answer. He asked questions about when did you meet Sunanda (Pushkar) and other such irrelevant things....We said that whatever questions were unanswered we will mail all the details as soon as possible. We felt that most of the questions were planted. Before we could give all the answers he went on Twitter and said at the press conference that we did not have knowledge about all the owners."


Modi on Monday, in a series of tweets, alleged that the details of exactly who owns the team are unclear; he also said that Sunanda Pushkar, a friend of the Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, has been gifted equity worth 70 crores.

The owners do not deny this. They describe Pushkar's share as "sweat equity" saying it's in lieu of a salary for her Marketing experience.

The BJP, which has demanded that Tharoor be sacked for inappropriate links to the owners, says that Pushkar has no earlier link to either Kerala or cricket. It alleges that Pushkar is a front for Tharoor, who is being rewarded for his successful lobbying for an IPL team for his home state.

The Kochi team owners have formally complained to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that Modi has violated confidentiality agreements. In turn, the BCCI has reprimanded Modi and summoned a special meeting to discuss the controversy.

Tharoor has clarified publicly that he is an advisor and a mentor to the team-owners and that he does not intend to financially benefit from the deal he allegedly helped strike.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Modi asserted that "It is my job as Chairman of IPL to seek details and authenticate the shareholding of every franchise... how would otherwise I know where the money is coming from."

He added, "In regard to all other eight franchises, we are aware of who they are ....everybody knows who they are . They attend our conferences, meetings ... In regard to Kochi, we had some question marks about who they are. In fact, the people who presented the bid document themselves did not know who they were ...that's why the issue has come up."

Stressing that he would address the issue after the current season of the IPL concludes, he said, "This is a small issue for us is an issue nonetheless and we will deal with it."

Tharoor has said that Modi is targeting Kochi because the IPL commissioner wanted the franchise bid to be won by "a different team". The reference is to Modi's alleged preference for an IPL team from Ahemedabad.

In response, Modi said, "I have nothing to hide."