The IPL has been caught in a controversy over details of the ownership structure of the Kochi franchise being made public by Lalit Modi, the league chairman. The franchise owners, who bought the team last month, are believed to feel this is a breach of faith and have reportedly taken up the issue with the Indian board which, Cricinfo has learnt, is also unhappy with the situation.
Modi has denied any breach of confidentiality. "All team owners of the IPL have been revealed in the past," he told CNN-IBN. "I don't think there is anything to hide in it. We're a public body." Asked whether the BCCI had been in touch with him on this, he said, "That's an internal matter - I don't want to reveal what we discussed at the board level."
The ownership details were posted by Modi on his Twitter feed on Sunday afternoon, in response to questions from the public. According to his posts, the Kochi consortium break-up is: Rendezvous Sports 1%, Anchor 27%, Parinee [Developers] 26%, Film Waves Combine 12%, Anand Shyam 8%, Vivek Venugopal 1% with Rendezvous having an additional 25% free equity. That equity is held by Kisan, Shailender and Pushpa Gaikwad, Sunanda Pushkar, Puja Gulathi, Jayant Kotalwar, Vishnu Prasad, Sundip Agarwal.
In his Tweets Modi has also posed questions about the Kochi stake-holders. "Who are the shareholders of Rendezvous. And why have they been given this 100's of million dollars bonanza?", read one tweet. Another read: "25% of Kochi team is given free to Rendezvous sports for life. The same equity is non-dilutable in perpetuity.What does that mean?"
Modi's revelations have clearly hurt the owners of Kochi. "It was not expected from a body like the IPL," a senior member of the consortium told Cricinfo. "The documents are very clear that information submitted is confidential and cannot be revealed by either side."
The franchise now wants the IPL to reveal the ownership details of the nine other franchises. "What we are trying to say is the documents we have submitted to him are supposed to be kept confidential. But if he is letting out the information on our consortium then we would like to be informed of the details of all the owners of the IPL teams, including the individual shareholders, as he has done for us," the source said.
This is not the first time Rendezvous Sports World Private Limited, which bagged the ownership of the Kochi franchise last month for a bid of US$ 333.33 million, have run into trouble with the IPL. Last week they were asked to list the names of all the owners after the IPL found out that there were a few "secret partners" in the consortium. Consequently a reviewed agreement was signed by both the parties in Bangalore on Saturday night - and it was in this context that questions were put to Modi by the public on Twitter seeking the details.
The Kochi consortium has worked hard over the past month to dispel the notion that they are a disparate team of individuals; they had worked on the plan for the last six months before deciding to make the move. The seriousness of their intentions can be gauged from the fact that no one backed out of the deal despite the original tender process being cancelled and rescheduled from March 7 to 21. The face of the bid the first time around was the Jaypee Group, but two weeks later Jaypee decided to opt out, forcing the other partners to re-organise things.