Kolkata: Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi questioned the source of big bucks being spent during the Indian Premier League auction and alleged that the tournament is a platform for "money laundering".
The former left-arm spinner could not have timed his attack on the league with millions spent on day one of the IPL-XI auctions in Bengaluru.
"IPL is also responsible for bringing in somebody called Justice Lodha Commission. I have never known anything so cheap going so expensively. People have accused me that I am maligning IPL as I don't get anything out of it. I said see if you can rope me in, you can try.
"Can anyone justify one wicket's price at Rs one crore and Rs 97 lakh for one run. I am not against the money part of it as players deserve to get more money playing for the country than playing for a wretched club.
"But do we know where all this money is coming from and where it is going? If this is not money laundering I don't know what is," Bedi said on the concluding day of the Kolkata Literary Meet here.
"You find a person like Virat who has been retained by 17 crore... He deserves it. But in the same dressing room, there will be a youngster who will fetch Rs 10-15 lakh.
"Now he will try to catch up with Kohli. Now how does he do it? There are ways and means to do it and there is a platform which encourages you to do it which is match-fixing. IPL is an easy target," he said pointing out the spot-fixing scandal of 2013.
Bedi spoke highly of Nawab Pataudi and also named MS Dhoni as a gentleman on the field who "never swore".
"My favourite cricketer was Pataudi. He was the greatest thing that has ever happened to Indian cricket. Besides Pataudi, the other gentleman was Dhoni who never swore on the cricket field."
"He (Pataudi) was my first captain and all credit to him as I learnt a lot from him. He was the first Indian captain to bring in a fair amount of Indianness in the dressing room. He always used to tell, we are not playing for Maharashtra or Delhi or Bengal. We are playing for India."
In the same vein, he also mentioned about Sourav Ganguly: "He is one of the finest Indian captains we have had and he was also responsible, in many ways, for the culture that prevails today."
"The golden period of Indian cricket was when Sourav Ganguly was captaining the side. He had at his disposal Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Laxman," he concluded.