City Corporation Ltd. managing director Aniruddh Deshpande on Sunday denied the charge that he kept the IPL in dark about his “individual bid” for the Pune franchise but conceded that the company’s name was used in his bid documents.
Mr. Deshpande’s denial comes in the wake of media reports that the Pune-based Real Estate firm City Corporation had authorised him to bid on the company’s behalf in a January board meeting.
The firm, in which Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar’s family has 16 per cent equity, had earlier denied being part of the bid but BCCI President Shashank Manohar on Saturday rejected its claim, saying the failed bid came in the company’s name.
Mr. Deshpande said he had told the IPL that he would float a new company after winning the bid, which was eventually clinched by the Sahara Group. Mr. Deshpande said the City Corporation allowed him to use the company’s name on the documents as very little time was left for the bids to open.
“All the documents were in the company’s name and a letter to that effect was also submitted to the IPL Governing Council on March 21 before the bid. I told them that the stakeholders will change if we are successful bidders,” Mr. Deshpande said.
“Since we were not successful bidders, nothing further had to be done,” he added.
City Corporation’s involvement had been vehemently denied by Mr. Pawar and his Parliamentarian daughter Supriya Sule.
The duo had said that the Pawar family was not involved in any bidding process but had admitted that Mr. Deshpande was allowed to go ahead in his “individual capacity.”
Mr. Deshpande said the company’s Board backed out of bidding for the team after a March 17 meeting where a fresh resolution allowing him to go ahead individually was passed.
Asked if the later resolution had been fabricated to save the company and Mr. Pawar further embarrassment, Mr. Deshpande said, “Why would we do it?”
“If it was to be done in the company’s name, it would have been done in the company’s name. How can I fabricate a March 17 letter that I gave on March 21 to the IPL Governing Council in front of all the bidders?” he told NDTV.
BCCI chief Manohar had said that had the IPL Governing Council known that Mr. Deshpande bid in individual capacity, the bid would have been outrightly rejected.
But Mr. Deshpande said he hid nothing from the IPL authorities and even got an extended 10-days’ time to arrange for bank guarantees.
“I gave two letters to the IPL Governing Council. The council and all the other bidders were present when I told them that I can’t give a bank guarantee in the requisite 48 hours so the deadline should be extended to 10 days for all the bidders.
“The council then said it would allow everybody 10 days as 48 hours was just not possible,” he recalled.
Mr. Deshpande said he gave a letter explaining the company’s and his stand to now suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.
“I told him, if we are successful, we would form a different consortium and once the (City Corporation) Board told me that I could bid in individual capacity but could use the company’s name, I started going to different people to buy stake.
“I told the IPL that I will float a different company if I won the bid. But the time was so less ... after March 17, there were only 4-5 days left for the bid and I had only one choice and that was to use the company’s name,” he explained.