Undeterred by Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor launching an attack on him on Kochi franchise issue, Chairman of Indian Premier League Lalit Modi on Wednesday asserted that it was his job to seek details of every shareholder and authenticate.
“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,” Mr. Modi told PTI on Tharoor’s accusation of he causing impropriety by divulging the details of the shareholding of Kochi franchise.
Wondering as to why any third party (Tharoor), which is not a shareholder in any of the franchise, should be exercised about IPL seeking details, Mr. Modi said that he did not know about who Sunanda Pushkar was till he read about her in the newspapers.
Sunanda Pushkar, who was given 19 per cent of the 25 per cent equity held by Rendezvous Sports World in Kochi franchise, was reported to be very close to Mr. Tharoor, who is also reported to be planning to marry her.
The cash rich IPL, which has become a one billion dollar revenue entity in the third season this year, had auctioned Kochi and Pune franchise to Rendezvous and Sahara last month for a total of about Rs 3,200 crore.
Mr. Modi, who has been credited for success of IPL which he had earlier said would help make BCCI the richest sports entity in the world in next 3-4 years, also wondered as to why Sunanda should be given free equity and quipped “whether she is bringing any value?”
Questioning Mr. Tharoor making a phone call to IPL for not disclosing the identity of shareholders of Rendezvous, he said “his call has been minuted and the entire conversation has been minuted by IPL“.
He said that his main concern was always to find out the sources of money and identity of shareholders to keep IPL, which has dislodged TV programmes in terms of catching the eyeballs, to keep the working transparent and entity above board, particularly on account of the huge money involved.
Asked about the Board of Control for Cricket in India President Shashank Manohar taking up cudgels on Kochi issue, Mr. Modi said “I will not comment on the issue, particularly when it is our internal matter. I will give a suitable reply.”