New Delhi: A little over a hundred characters is all it takes to open a can of worms. Eyebrows had been raised after the two new IPL franchisees were bid for exorbitant sums of money, but that was not unexpected after the success of the IPL in the last two years. What was unexpected though was the ensuing saga over the ownership of the Kochi franchise.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi's tweets first took the cricket fraternity by storm and soon all major political parties had appropriated the issue asking for income tax raids, central government-led investigations and even the removal of a union minister. Here's a blow by blow account of how things have unfolded so far.
1. When was the bidding supposed to take place? Why didn't it happen on the actual scheduled date? When were the teams finally decided?
Ans: The actual bidding was scheduled for March 7, 2010. It was cancelled on that day and the reason given was that the bidders were upset with some financial clauses, which were not there at the time of the bidding for the first edition. The new date was set for March 21 and on that very day the two winning bids were announced.
2. At what prices were the two teams bought and who were the buyers?
Ans: The two teams were bought at a combined price of 3,235 crore, some 400 odd crores more than what the eight teams had together been bought for in 2008. The Pune team was bought by the Sahara Group and a consortium of people came together as Rendezvous Sports World to buy the Kochi team.
3. Who are the actual owners of the Kochi Franchisee?
Ans: Kochi shareholders according to Lalit Modi's tweets are Rendezvous 25 per cent free, Rendezvous 1 per cent, Anchor 27 per cent, Parinee 26 per cent, Film Waves Combine 12 per cent, Anand Shyam 8 per cent, Vivek Venugopal 1 per cent. And Rendezvous free equity - held by Kisan, Shailender and Pushpa Gaikwad, Sunanda Pushkar, Puja Gulathi, Jayant Kotalwar, Vishnu Prasad, Sundip Agarwal.
4. How did the issue come out in public domain?
Ans: Modi's tweet in which he divulged the names of Rendezvous Sports World group stakeholders brought the subject out in the open.
5:How did Shashi Tharoor, a minister in the central government get involved?
Ans: Apparently one of the shareholders in the RSW group is a close associate of Tharoor and hence his name also came up. What followed from there on was a spat between Modi and Tharoor and the franchise complaining to the BCCI.
6. How did the Kochi franchisee owners react to the tweet?
Ans: They weren't happy with Modi's tweet. They said that the documents were clear about keeping names confidential and Modi by divulging the names has clearly broken the agreement of confidentiality. The franchise then also asked IPL to reveal the ownership details of all the other franchises.
7. How did Tharoor react to the controvery?
Ans: Tharoor responded to charges of a conflict of interest by calling it an "extraordinary breach of all propriety" by Modi designed to discredit the franchise and disqualify the ownership. Tharoor also said that all this upset the plans of a lot of powerful people, who had wanted the franchise to go elsewhere. Tharoor said that Modi was trying to pressurise the consortium members to abandon their bid in favour of another city in a different state.
8. What did the BCCI do?
Ans: On April 13, BCCI president Shashank Manohar wrote a strongly-worded letter to the IPL commissioner, criticising his decision to make public the ownership details.
9. How did Modi react to both BCCI and Tharoor?
Ans: Responding to the letter by Shashank Manohar, Modi said that he had done no wrong and had breached no confidentiality. He said that there were a lot of hidden things inside the Kochi franchise and he was just trying to make things clear. Modi also said that when he asked who were the owners of the franchisee, the Kochi team had no answer to the question. Responding to Tharoor he counter alleged that it was Tharoor who gave a call to him asking not to ask about the shareholders in the consortium.
10. How did the contoversy snowball?
Ans. The war of words continued as Kochi came out alleging that Modi even went to the extent of offering them USD 50 million to quit. Modi denied the allegations calling it baseless. On April 15, Income-Tax officials raided Lalit Modi's offices in Mumbai and quizzed him on the ownership and bidding process laid in place. Modi though preferred calling it an enquiry and not a raid.
11. What is the BCCI doing to resolve the crisis?
Ans: The BCCI is likely to appoint its President Shashank Manohar as the co-chairman of the IPL, bringing an end to Modi's reign as the un-questioned boss of the league. There is a strong view inside the board that Modi has brought disrepute to the BCCI and Indian cricket and needs to be chastised in some way. The IPL Governing Council will meet in about 10 days to table all points and counter-points and then take a decision.
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