No Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader or member has any financial involvement in the Indian Premier League (IPL), party general secretary and national spokesman D.P. Tripathi said here on Thursday.
“The NCP challenges anybody or any agency to produce any evidence of financial involvement of any member or leader in the IPL functioning,” Mr. Tripathi said told journalists here.
Separately, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar's MP daughter, Supriya Sule, denied the involvement of her husband, Sadanand, in the IPL. Her father-in-law was the Chairman of Sony Entertainment way back in 1992, long before the IPL was even conceived. “My father-in-law is 84 years old now and my husband is a proxy for meetings. My husband has nothing to do with any of this. He is in touch with his lawyers [to sue] for defamation,” Ms. Sule told journalists in Parliament House.
According to Mr. Tripathi, the controversy had not affected the relationship between the Congress and the NCP. “They are the big brother. We are together. There are no differences between us,” he said.
Denying that the Congress was gunning for the NCP or exerting any pressure on the party, Mr Tripathi said: “I don't think the Congress is doing that. Our party is strong enough to handle the situation.”
Denying the involvement of any family members of NCP leaders in the IPL, Mr. Tripathi said the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) had convened a meeting next week. “It will look into the matter and arrive at a decision. Please allow them to handle this.”
Even while a debate has been triggered on whether political people should stay out of games and sports, Mr. Tripathi said politicians (from different parties) who had been duly elected to various sports bodies should be allowed to play their role. “Let sports not be politicised.”
On Union Aviation Minister Praful Patel's daughter Poorna sending an email to Shashi Tharoor's office on the Kochi IPL team, he said, “Poorna works for [the] IPL. She forwarded an email to Mr. Patel's personal office to be sent to Mr. Tharoor. It was a business plan that she sent. Mr. Tharoor had asked for the information. What is wrong with that?
“There is no ghotala [scam]. The information was not classified or a confidential document. Does it mean that politicians' children should not work?” he asked.
Asked whether Mr. Pawar and Mr. Patel should step down, he said: “No party has raised such a demand. It is baseless.”
Modi may be ousted if he shuns meet: Pataudi
The former cricketer and IPL Governing Council member, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, said on Thursday Lalit Modi might be ousted from his post if he kept away from the meeting on Monday.
He told Mr. Modi that he should step down if he had so much conviction in his innocence.
“If Mr. Modi doesn't come for the meeting, I suspect the BCCI will take a very strict view of this. But Lalit is also playing very hard, I am not sure what he is up to.
“Unless Modi comes and says in the meeting that he has been working 20 hours a day for the last six weeks and need 3-4 days time to prepare his answer, his outser is certain… But if he does that, the Board may give him time,” he told television channels.
Mr. Pataudi said Mr. Modi, facing charges of financial irregularity, proxy investment and nepotism, was toeing the wrong line by deciding to shun the April 26 Governing Council meeting.
Asked if Mr. Modi should step aside in the best interest of IPL, Mr. Pataudi said: “Yes. I think so. Let these allegations and accusations come to some kind of conclusion and let's see because he's kept on saying ... for the last few weeks that he's done nothing wrong. So fine, if he has done nothing wrong, let them take it out.”
Mr. Pataudi, however, found nothing wrong with Mr. Modi's relatives having stakes in IPL teams since BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan, who heads Indian Cements, was allowed to successfully bid for the Chennai franchise.
Mr. Pataudi said what mattered was whether Mr. Modi, like Mr. Srinivasan, had taken the BCCI into confidence on the matter or not.
“Let's put it this way, there are certain issues which were settled even before the first IPL met, the Governing Council met. And that was that the board gave permission for a BCCI office bearer to own a team,” he said.