New Delhi: After Shashi Tharoor, it is now the turn of the Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel to feel the heat as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sought details about his involvement in the dealings of the billion dollar Indian Premier League
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met the Prime Minster with details about Praful and his daughter Poorna’s alleged role helping Tharoor with the IPL Kochi franchise’s evaluation two days before they were made public.
Pranab is also understood to have given details to the Premier about a leading newspaper’s claims that NCP president Sharad Pawar’s son-in-law Sadanand Sule has a 10% share in Mulit Screen Media, which holds the broadcasting rights of the IPL and whose offices were raided yesterday by the Income Tax officials.
Sule’s wife Supriya has already denied any role of her husband in the IPL other than being an avid cricket follower. She also has washed her hands off Patel saying, “Our family has nothing to do with Praful Patel.”
This despite Praful Patel constantly refuting claims of any involvement with the Kochi franchisee valuation.
A financial daily had revealed that Patel, through his personal secretary Champa Bhardwaj, had sent a mail to former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor with details about the projected valuations of new IPL franchisees.
“I have never ever been part of the bidding process, in round one or two. The allegations are completely baseless,” Patel had said, adding that he had simply sent the information requested by his ‘good friend’ Shashi Tharoor.
“Shashi and I have been good friends. Since he was putting together a team from Kochi, he asked me for some help. I spoke to Lalit and told him that Shashi wants some information. I do not have anything to do with it beyond that,” he said.
Importantly, Patel’s daughter Poorna, who is also the IPL hospitality manager, had received the mail from IPL CEO Sundar Raman, she in-turn, forwarded it to her father’s secretary.
It was sent by Patel’s secretary to Tharoor on March 19, two days before the opening of the bid, which was won by the Kochi consortium.
In a turn of events, Sundar Raman has completely denied having asked Poorna to forward him that mail. Poorna is cuurently at the BCCI headquarters to explain her case to the apex cricket body.
Clearly, the IPL controversy is far from over and there is more than what meets the eye even as IPL chief Lalit Modi remains defiant despite odds stacking against him.