New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister and International Cricket Council (ICC) president president-elect Sharad Pawar on Friday dismissed reports of his family's involvement in the failed bid for Indian Premier League franchisees.
Pawar, who is the former president of Board of Control for Cricket in India, rubbished newspaper reports linking his family to the IPL bid.
"The report is not a new report. I saw the report in other papers two months back and my position was explained. I have already said there is direct or indirect involvement in any IPL teams. My family or I are not involved in IPL bid," Pawar said in New Delhi.
Commenting on the report that his family holds shares in Pune-based construction company City Corporation which made an unsuccessful bid for a franchise in March, Pawar claimed that the MD of the company, Anirudhha Deshpande, had made the bid in his individual capacity.
"Mr Deshpande has made the position absolutely clear. In their board meeting with me, the board took unanimous position that City Corporation will not participate in bidding. He was allowed in an individual capacity in the bidding process," claimed Pawar.
He also pointed out that the bid for Pune was finally won by the Sahara Group and neither Deshpande nor his other colleagues succeeded in getting the IPL bid.
"Deshpande filled the bid for Pune in his individual capacity. There was no shareholder to that. Deshpande, Maharashtra Cricket Association and Akriti Company from Mumbai participated in Pune bid but it went to Sahara," said the Agriculture Minister.
He also said that he did not issue any explanation as he had not felt the importance of explaining earlier as he had no role to play.
But the following questions remain unanswered: But why did the Pawar family not reveal 16 per cent they had in City Corporation?
Pawar family claims that bid made on the name of Deshpande was in his individual capacity. But bid papers show it was made in name of City Corporation and not in an individual's name.
The Pawars also claim City Corporation's bid did not win showing that there was no external influence during the auction. But it still does not explain why substantial financial influence in an IPL team was not revealed.
The Agriculture Minister got support from an unlikely quarter. Suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi tweeted that “Mr Anirudh Deshpande and his consortium clearly stated in there (sic) bid documents that they will set up a Newco if they were successful bidders in the IPL auction and he was using the company which he is a shareholder of - City Corp to only establish his personal Net Worth Criteria.”