Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded the resignation of Nationalist Congress Party president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday, over his alleged role in the IPL bid issue, he denied his or his family's involvement in any Indian Premier League cricket team.
In Mumbai, his MP daughter Supriya Sule reacted similarly to reports appearing in a section of the media that the family held 16.22 per cent shares in City Corporation, a Pune-based construction company, which unsuccessfully bid for the IPL Pune team in March.
The Congress, however, maintained a neutral stance saying Mr. Pawar was a “valuable ally'' but deflected questions on the allegations against him.
Speaking to journalists here, Mr. Pawar said, “Neither I nor any of my family members are directly or indirectly involved in any IPL team.''
He said the board of City Corporation (in which he and his family have a 16.22 per cent shareholding) had taken a unanimous decision not to be involved in the IPL bidding process. “The Managing Director, Mr. A. Deshpande was eager to be associated with the bidding process so the board allowed him to do so in his individual capacity. He was allowed to use the name of City Corporation.''
“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. The City Corporation made a failed bid for the Pune IPL team which was won by the Sahara Group.
The former BCCI chief said similar reports had appeared in Maharashtra two months ago and he had clarified then too. He dismissed suggestions that he was lacking in transparency by not disclosing details of their interest in the company when the IPL controversy broke out about six weeks ago, saying it was not necessary at the time.
Ms. Sule said she was a minority shareholder in the company and doesn't sit on the board. “Now if people [Mr. Deshpande] have gone in without the permission of the board, how am I involved?''
Dismissing suggestions that Mr. Deshpande was used as a proxy, Mr. Pawar said had he been interested, the company would not have lost the bid.