New Delhi:Former BCCI chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar may have maintained that his investments in the company City Corporation do not link him to the IPL bidding process, but now BCCI sources have told NDTV that there is clear and documentary evidence that when Aniruddha Deshpande made a bid for the Pune IPL team he was acting for the company and not in his individual capacity.
NDTV has learnt, a letter written in January earlier this year clearly authorised Deshpande to bid on behalf of the company. NDTV has also learnt that the supporting documents submitted for the bid were all company documents, including the balance sheets of City Corp. A subsequent letter that Deshpande claims is a proof that the company did not want him to go ahead with the bid, has been described by highly placed sources as a fabricated evidence.
Deshpande maintained his stand by saying that the bid had nothing to do with Pawar and he bid in his individual capacity. (Read:Pawar not a part of my IPL bid, says Deshpande)
When NDTV asked Pawar about BCCI's latest claim that City Corporation, of which Pawar and his family own 16%, gave its MD Anirudh Deshpande the go ahead to bid, he said his position on the issue had not changed. "The company board did not support the bid," Pawar reiterated.
Deshpande also said City Corp was not interested in bidding. "Company was not interested in bidding, so I bid myself," he said. But NDTV has a copy of the letter authorising Deshpande to bid for City Corporation not himself. (Read:City Corp's Board letter which gives Deshpande go ahead to bid)
Since the reports of City Corp bidding for the Pune team are out, Pawar and his Parliamentarian daughter Supriya Sule have been denying their involvement in the failed IPL bid.
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. (Read:Pawar family denies involvement in failed IPL bid)
"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 had said reacting to reports that he, his wife and daughter held 16 per cent shares in the Pune-based City Corporation.
"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 on Friday.
"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.
Suspended IPL Commissoner Lalit Modi also came out in full support of Pawar and said he was not involved in the bidding.
Modi said, "Talk of Pawar's involvement is a joke. Deshpande bid in his own name. This was qualified. He put together a consortium. And also mentioned that a new company will be formed. City Corp was not the actual bidder. Except to show the net worth of one promoter."
"Mr Pawar and family has nothing to do with the bidding documents and with the bid that was made by Mr Deshpande. He lost it anyway," Modi told NDTV.
And while Modi gave clean chit to Pawar, he claimed interim IPl chief Chirayu Amin was a part of the consortium along with Deshpande and Akruti. (Read:Lalit Modi claims Chirayu Amin bid for IPL team)
To which BCCI President Shashank Manohar lashed out at him for maligning the image of the Board and its members. (Read:BCCI hits back at Lalit Modi, defends Chirayu Amin)