New Delhi: A day after Indian cricket board President Shashank Manohar raised questions about the ownership of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Rajasthan Royals, the franchisee shot back on Tuesday by saying that their ownership structure has been completely transparent and in accordance with regulatory guidelines issued by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
In a statement, Rajasthan Royals said: "Rajasthan Royals would like to clarify certain misconceptions about the franchise, which have been raised through the media. The Rajasthan Royals franchise bid was successful, with full compliance of BCCI guidelines. Full details of the consortium bid structure and the way the company would be set up were contained in the original submission to the BCCI in January 2008."
Manohar claimed that England-based Emerging Media, owned by Manoj Badale, that won the Jaipur franchise was set-up four months before the bid. Their bid was accepted but the contract paper was signed by a different company in the name of Jaipur IPL.
Seeking to clear all doubts, Rajasthan Royals said: "The investors agreed to submit the bid using a consortium, led by UK-based Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd. The other entities in the consortium were disclosed in the bid submission documents. Subsequently, on March 8, 2008, an Indian company Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd was incorporated, as detailed in the bid submission. We then executed the franchise agreement on April 14, 2008. The ownership of the consortium did not change between the award of the bid on January 23, 2008 and the signing of the franchise agreement on April 14, 2008."
The statement also said that as part of the Rajasthan Royals' strategy to broaden the shareholder base, Kuki Investments Ltd (Raj Kundra and family) acquired, in February 2009, an 11.7 percent stake in Emerging Media Sporting Holdings Limited, the parent company of Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd and it was disclosed to the BCCI and the IPL.
Rajasthan Royals also said that as per rules, the IPL was entitled to five percent of the increase in the pro-rata value of the franchise and accordingly in February 2009 they contacted the BCCI to agree upon the precise definition, and the amount that needed to be paid.
"We are still awaiting a response. For absolute clarity the payment has been fully accrued for within our accounts," the statement read.
Revealing the stake holders, the statement said: "The current shareholders of Emerging Media Sporting Holdings Limited, who all have multiple business interests and independent means, are as follows: Emerging Media (IPL) Ltd (Manoj Badale - 32.4 percent), Tresco International Ltd (Suresh Chellaram Family - 44.2 percent), Blue Water Estate Ltd (Lachlan Murdoch - 11.7 percent) and Kuki Investments Ltd (11.7 percent). There are no other shareholders."
Chellaram is the brother-in-law of suspended IPL supremo Lalit Modi. The Governing Council of the IPL has suspended Modi on charges of financial impropriety and has given him 15 days' time to reply.