More trouble for Pawar over IPL bid
Sharad Pawar's claims of not being involved in a bid for a Pune franchise in the IPL has been contradicted by information in a document describing the minutes of a board meeting of a company in which Pawar has a stake
The former BCCI president Sharad Pawar and his family's claims of not being involved in a bid for a Pune franchise in the IPL has been contradicted by information in a document describing the minutes of a board meeting of a company in which Pawar has a stake. The document reveals that on January 31, the Pune-based City Corporation had given Aniruddh Deshpande, its managing director, the permission to make a bid on "behalf" of the company during the auction in March.
This calls into question Pawar's earlier stance that Deshpande had made the bid entirely in his individual capacity and the board had given him permission to do so at the board's meeting on March 17. Pawar, his wife Pratibha Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule (a Member of Parliament) own a 16.22% stake in City Corporation. Pawar had said the reason he did not reveal his family's stake in the company was because "there was no necessity felt to do so". Sule had said that at the March 17 meeting it was resolved that the company will have nothing to do with the bid.
But the minutes of the January 31 meeting, a copy of which is available with Cricinfo, states that Deshpande was asked to go ahead with the bid in the company's name. According to the excerpts of the minutes of the January meeting the board "resolved that the company do and hereby authorize Mr Aniruddha Deshpande to represent the company in participating, bidding, winning & operating IPL franchisee from Pune in IPL-4 & onwards and to sign any agreement and other documents on behalf of the company in relation to participating in the bidding process of the IPL."
In his defence, Deshpande told the Times of India that the January 31 meeting was to "enable" him to exercise his bid in his personal capacity.
Sule, meanwhile, continued to maintain that neither she nor her father had done anything wrong. "We don't know anything about this because Mr Pawar and I don't sit on the company's Board. I don't know why a mountain is being made out of a molehill," she said. "How would we know? Have we signed any resolution? Do we sit on the Board? So how can we be held responsible for that?"
Sule insisted that Deshpande was going to find a new set of shareholders if he had won the bid. "When Mr Deshpande submitted the bid to the BCCI, he had given a note that the shareholders may change as there will be a new consortium made if they win the bid and they lost the bid."
The BCCI is clearly unhappy with the situation. Reacting to Lalit Modi's allegation on Friday that interim IPL chairman Chirayu Amin, too, was involved in the City Corporation bid, Shashank Manohar, the Indian board president, released a public statement, asking why Modi had not informed the board that Deshpande was bidding on his own.
"Mr Modi has also made a statement that Mr Aniruddha Deshpande, MD City Corporation Ltd, had informed him that though the bid was submitted on behalf of City Corporation Ltd, it was in fact a personal bid on behalf of himself," Manohar wrote. "Mr Modi, who claims to be above board in all matters, did not think this very cogent and important piece of information should be shared with Governing Council Members /Officials."
However, through his vehement attack against Modi, Manohar has also indirectly contradicted Pawar's claim that the bid had not been made in City Corporation's name. It is also understood that since Pawar is not part of any of the IPL franchises, he is clear of any wrongdoing as far as the BCCI are concerned.
Pawar is a street-smart politician who has lost only one election in his entire life, but he will need all of his resourcefulness to get out of the embarrassing situation surrounding his links with a failed IPL bid.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo