New Delhi:The ghost of IPL controversy returned to haunt Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and his Parliamentarian daughter Supriya Sule over their shareholding in a company that made a failed bid for the Pune team but both denied their involvement.
On suggestions that they could have disclosed details of their interest in the company six weeks ago when the IPL controversy raged, Pawar and Sule maintained that there was no necessity felt for doing so at that time.
"I have stated earlier also that neither I nor any of my family members were involved in any IPL team or the bidding process and I reiterate that statement," Pawar said reacting to reports that he, his wife and daughter held 16 per cent shares in the Pune-based City Corporation.
The former BCCI President insisted that the company's Managing Director Aniruddha Deshpande made the bid in his individual capacity.
"We were not involved at all in the bidding process. Even in the report, Mr Deshpande has made his position absolutely clear," he told reporters.
"The board took a unanimous decision not (to get) involved. (But) the managing director was eager to get associated with the bidding process, so he was allowed in his individual capacity.
"In (the Board's) resolution, it was made absolutely clear that there is no direct or indirect involvement of any shareholder other then Mr Deshpande personally," he said.
Sule too sprang in defence of her family, saying they had nothing to do with Deshpande's bid for the Pune IPL team, which eventually lost out to the Sahara Group.
"We are a minority shareholder in the company and we don't sit on the board. Now if people (Deshpande) have gone in without the permission of the board, how am I involved?" she asked in a press conference in Mumbai
"The board had passed a resolution not to bid and if Mr Deshpande still want to go ahead, he should do it in his individual capacity. We have nothing to do with that," she said.
"We have the documents to prove that the board did not approve of any bid," she added.
Asked why no one from the Pawar family revealed anything about the bid earlier, Sule said, "See, we were just not interested in the bid and the company itself was against it. We have the documents to prove it.
"What an individual does is none of our business. We have so much to worry about our constituencies, how much time we really have for these things?" she asked.
Sule said if Pawar wanted, he could have bought an IPL franchise when the Twenty20 league started in 2008.
"Remember Mr Pawar was the BCCI President when IPL started and if he wanted, he could easily have got a team in the first season itself, and that too much cheaper than some are paying now. It was just that we were not interested in it," Sule said.
She also dismissed suggestions that Deshpande was used as a proxy in the bidding process.
"There is nothing illegal in bidding for an IPL team but why would the board object to Deshpande's bidding if they really wanted to get a team?" she asked.
Pawar also rubbished suggestions of any underhand dealing in the bidding process, saying if he had used his influence, the company wouldn't have lost to Sahara.
"I was somebody in that organisation. Had I used any influence, do you think it would have lost the bid?" he asked.
Pawar reiterated that the IPL is clean and there is nothing murky about the ownership patterns and financial transactions in the league.
"There is no corruption. The government agencies are inquiring. Anyone who has done anything wrong will be punished. Investigating agencies will take care of it," he said.