Minister Says Modi Tried To Buy Out Team Kochi
New Delhi: What began as a juicy side-show to the IPL is now
threatening to dwarf the tournament itself, currently in full swing.
The Lalit Modi-Shashi Tharoor spat turned ugly on Tuesday with the
junior minister and his aide accusing Modi of "breaching all
propriety'' in his efforts to discredit the Kochi franchisee, and take
it away for them for his corporate friends.
Not just this, the minister's aide accused Modi of trying to buy
out the consortium with an "offer" of $ 50 million, while Tharoor
himself decried Modi's "contemptible efforts'' to "drag in matters of
my personal life'' — a reference to his alleged romantic ties with
Sunanda Pushkar, a Dubai-based socialite-businesswoman, who holds 18%
stake in Rendezvous Sports worth Rs 69 crore.
As the plot rapidly thickened, Lalit Modi, currently under a gag
order from BCCI, kept below the radar. However, his associates denied
all the allegations. They said that the $50 million offer was made to
both the new franchisees in case they wanted to back out of their bid.
It couldn't be acertained if this offer was part of the deal, but
prima facie, seemed odd as payment for not making good a bid pledge
has no precedence.
Tharoor denied Modi's allegation that he had called him up during
his meeting in Bangalore with investors of the Kochi team and told to
not seek the identities of the stake holders. Modi associates,
however, said the call came on Saturday, April 10, after midnight —
when the meeting was on — and Modi's telephone records would bear this
Congress unmoved by BJP demand for Tharoor's sack
Congress on Tuesday was cold to BJP's demand for the sacking of
Shashi Tharoor following the disclosure that promoters of Rendezvous
Sports — a motley group which the minister of state helped bag the
Kochi franchise of the IPL — had given his friend free equity in the
THAROOR CAMP SAYS
Modi threatened to make Kochi franchise unworkable
Offered $50m if Kochi consortium would drop deal
Why isn't he seeking details of other IPL teams like Rajasthan Royals?
Tharoor decries Modi for "dragging in personal life"; aide says Modi
was convicted in US for cocaine possession
MODI CAMP RETORTS
$50m offer was made to both Kochi and Pune franchises in case they
wanted to back out
Can nail Tharoor's 'lie' that he didn't call Modi, since Modi's phone
records clearly show he did
If Modi has a stake in Raj Royals, why didn't he overturn Ravindra
Shashi Tharoor will feel the heat politically though the public fracas
has ensured that the Kochi IPL team owners will not lose the franchise
It will be hard for Lalit Modi too to emerge unscathed from the controversy
IPL governing council will meet in nine days to take stock of the
situation Lalit Modi threatened Kochi representatives: Tharoor aide
New Delhi: The Lalit Modi-Shashi Tharoor spat took a political turn on
Tuesday with the BJP demanding Tharoor's sack for "improper
behaviour'', while the Congress seemed interested in the developing
drama but disinclined to get involved in it. Matters are likely to
come to a head at a meeting of the IPL governing council where Modi is
expected to battle allegations that he tried to muscle out Rendezvous
to help a couple of failed IPL aspirants. Tharoor may be questioned by
his party on his claims that he had only "helped" the Kochi crowd in
the light of Sunanda Pushkar owning an 18% stake.
In a strong attack on Modi's alleged pressure tactics, a Tharoor
aide said Modi had virtually said during this meeting he would ensure
that franchise was "unworkable." Tharoor's OSD Jacob Joseph was quoted
by a TV channel as saying that Modi threatened the Kochi
representatives — he allegedly said, "I am going to make sure you guys
get the worst name (for the team), worst jerseys, and that you will
not get access to the great players.''
Tharoor himself said the Bangalore meeting was necessitated
because Modi had held up approval to the franchisee "by insisting on
the reversal of a change in the document that he himself had earlier
suggested.'' The minister added: "The consortium members flew to
Bangalore for what they had been told would be a routine exercise.
Instead they were submitted to a barrage of questions which led some
to suspect that Modi was seeking a further excuse to delay approval.
This was the reason for my intervention with Modi.''
On the Bangalore meeting, the Tharoor aide said: "The meeting took
place close to midnight after Modi made us wait through the afternoon
Sources said that Sunanda Pushkar, who has been seen in Tharoor's
company at social occasions, has business interests in Dubai where she
is connected with a real estate company. It is understood that Tharoor
and Pushkar were introduced by a Dubai-based businessman Sunny Varkey.
Tharoor said he knew Pushkar well. "On the question of my
interests in the franchise, I repeat that I am proud to have helped
the consortium come to Kerala. I have neither invested nor received a
rupee for my mentorship of the team. Whatever my personal
relationships with any of the consortium members, I do not intend to
benefit in any way financially from my association with the team now
or at a later stage,'' he said.
The minister's aide said Modi's alleged bais was apparent from the
word go, as a day before the actual bidding, he asked the consortium
to quote a price of $297 million for the bid. "He had no business to
suggest this. We did not go by that because we knew that the eventual
price would be much higher. In hindsight, we know that he was trying
to scuttle our chances,'' said the aide. The team eventually won the
rights for Kochi franchisee for $ 333 million.
According to a TV channel, Tharoor's OSD Jacob Joseph said that
Modi was unfit to run cricket as he had been charged and convicted of
drug possession in the US and demanded that the ownership of Rajasthan
Royals — the IPL chief is alleged close to the team — be revealed.
Joseph told the tv channel that "Why isn't he talking about two
other teams which are registered in Mauritius? Why is he insisting
only on the ownership of Kochi franchisee? He has brought disrepute to
IPL and cricket.''
Left asks Congress to explain mantri's conduct
The Left on Tuesday asked Congress to explain the role of minister
of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor in the affairs of
Rendezvous Sports World Ltd, the consortium owning the Kochi team."It
is for the Congress to take a stand on Tharoor," CPI leader D Raja
said. Terming the Rendezvous affair as murky, he claimed money was
involved in the whole franchise business. "The PMO should also take
note of it," he said. Raja disapproved the of politicians getting into
cricket. "It is the latest trend and we are concerned," he said.