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June 4, 2010
Chirayu Amin, the interim IPL chairman, has said he was part of a consortium that bid unsuccessfully for a Pune franchise earlier this year and also said he had kept the BCCI president informed of his role in the auction. Also included in the group as a technical partner was the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), whose president said it was only involved in the bid to try and increase the usage of a stadium being built in Pune.
The news comes on a day when ICC president elect Sharad Pawar, his wife and daughter were revealed to have a stake in a company that was allegedly a member of the bidding consortium. Pawar is a senior minister in the federal government and his daughter an MP; both have come under severe criticism through the day for not revealing their stake in the company when the controversy first broke in April.
The controversy surrounds the potential for conflict of interest; it has already claimed the job of Pawar's former cabinet colleague Shashi Tharoor, and questions have been raised over the dual roles of the BCCI secretary N Srinivasan, whose company India Cements owns the Chennai Super Kings franchise.
Amin's statement came in response to a statement by Lalit Modi, the suspended IPL chairman, that Amin had been involved in an attempt to acquire a new IPL franchise. Amin, who was appointed interim chairman on Modi's suspension, said he would not have invested without the Indian board's permission had he been successful at the auction.
"I was approached by a group of businessmen to join them in the consortium to bid for the Pune franchise," Amin said. "I agreed to invest upto 10% from one of our associate companies.
"Before participating in the bid I wrote a letter to Manohar in this regard and also stated in my letter that further clearance would be taken from BCCI before investing in case the bid was successful. There was therefore total transparency at every step."
The consortium was headed by Aniruddha Deshpande, managing director of City Corporation, a company in which Pawar, his wife, and his daughter Supriya Sule together have a 16% stake. "We received letters of interest from quite a few prospective investors and Glycodin [one of Amin's companies] was one of them," Deshpande told Cricinfo. "The letters were merely to ascertain if the investor would be serious in case the bid was successful."
One of the entities that had sent a letter of interest to Deshpande was the MCA. Ajay Shirke, the MCA's president, explained its involvement in the bid: "We wanted a team for Pune at any cost because we are building a modern stadium which has a huge capital outlay," he said. "The utilisation of the stadium on a sustainable basis would improve if we had an IPL team .
"Mr Deshpande approached us to utilise the MCA stadium which would also help him reduce the costs. We were willing to give it to anyone as long as the person won the bid. In the letter to the City Corporation, we said that the letter was being issued on a non-exclusive basis."
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