Kolkata Knight Riders have suspended a sponsorship deal with a clothes manufacturing firm after public protests over its owner's links with a controversial murder case. A Knight Riders statement said the deal was on hold but Cricinfo understands it is likely to be scrapped.
The decision was made in the aftermath of negative reactions in Kolkata due to controversies surrounding Ashok Todi, the owner of Lux Industries, which had signed up with the franchise to supply innerwear.
Todi has been linked with the death in 2007 of Rizwanur Rahman, who married his daughter Priyanka days before his body was found in mysterious circumstances. Todi had denied involvement in the death and has not been charged with any crime but the news made national headlines and the controversy has remained ever since.
Various civil liberties groups had criticised the deal, and a senior member of Kolkata's Muslim clergy had called for a boycott of the team's home games during the upcoming IPL season.
"Respecting the sentiments of Kolkata and people of Bengal, both Lux Industries and KKR have decided to put their association on hold until issues are resolved and the sensitivities of the aggrieved group are adequately addressed," Joy Bhattacharjya, the KKR team director, said.
"The association was worked upon on the basis of the fact that Lux Industries is a company doing business successfully in India and based in Kolkata for more than last 50 years. No matters concerning individuals associated with the respective organizations were envisaged as this was a purely professional tie-up," Bhattacharjya clarified.
"Our love and respect for the sentiments of our fellow Kolkatans drives us to put on hold any further activity with regard to our association, till such time an acceptable resolution to the situation is arrived at.
"We sincerely hope that our effort to redress this grievance is positively received and this may bring to end any strife, hurt or anguish caused to anyone who has raised their displeasure in this matter," Bhattacharjya said.