New Delhi: Despite their repeated claims to the contrary, Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar and his immediate family were not completely ‘not interested’ in the IPL billion dollar extravaganza, reports claimed Friday.
According to a report published in a leading newspaper, Pawar along with his wife Pratibha Pawar and daughter Supriya Sule, hold over 16% equity in one of the bidders for the Pune IPL franchisee.
The report claims that the Pawars own 33.6 lakh shares (out of 2.07 crore shares) in City Corporation, a Pune-based construction company which bid Rs 1,176 crore for the Pune team in March.
The shares are held by the Pawar family through two companies, Namratta Film Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Lap Finance and Consultancy Pvt Ltd, which are 100% owned by the NCP supreme and his family. Of the 33.6 lakh shares the Pawars hold in City Corp, 25.6 lakh are through Lap and 8 lakh through Namratta.
The second round of IPL bids ended on March 21, when the franchisees for Pune and Kochi were announced in Chennai. City Corp was eventually outgunned by Sahara’s Rs 1,702-crore winning offer.
Clearly the revelation blows the high moral claims by the Pawars and the statements by the BCCI completely absolving the union minister of having any role or any interest in the billion dollar league.
“I say with full conviction that my husband or my family has nothing to do with these issues (the IPL bids)...We always stay miles away from it. Yes, we are avid cricket watchers, my husband, my kids, my family, all, and that’s where the buck stops.” Supriya Sule had said when the much publicised Lalit Modi, Shashi Tharoor spat - over the ownership of IPL teams - was at its peak. .
Even Sharad Pawar had feigned ignorance, saying, “These (charges) are all a media creation. Explain the allegations to me and I will definitely reply... My conscience is clear.”
The BCCI had also chipped in with their version of defence for Pawar, who is also the ICC chief designate. Board chief Shashank Manohar had said: “There is no involvement of any member of the family of former BCCI president Sharad Pawar. The bid documents have been seen by the income-tax department’s officials.”