New Delhi: A bitter battle has erupted between Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and owners of the new IPL Kochi team after Modi allegedly breached a confidentiality agreement on Saturday by revealing the ownership structure of Rendezvous Sports World Ltd, the franchisee, on Twitter.
Within hours of Modi’s tweets, Vivek Venugopal, co-owner of the Rendezvous consortium, wrote to Shashank Manohar, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which owns IPL.
The contents of the letter, which were read out to Mint over phone by a person close to the development at the board, said Modi had breached the confidentiality agreement with the IPL franchisee by putting the shareholding structure of the consortium in public domain.
The letter added: “On behalf of the consortium, I request you to immediately 1) instruct Mr. Modi to retract the statements made in media as well as on Twitter. 2) Reveal/disclose similar information for all participating teams on his Twitter account and 3) apologize for the communication given to the media.”
Legal action is being contemplated against Modi for his “irresponsible behaviour,” the letter said.
Mint couldn’t independently verify the contents of the letter.
Modi’s actions also seem to have created a stir within BCCI.
Manohar allegedly wrote to Modi reprimanding him for his tweets. This letter too was read out to Mint by the same person who read out the other letter and who did not wish to be identified.
Mint couldn’t independently verify the contents of this letter too.
Modi said he wasn’t “commenting on the issue at all right now”.
Meanwhile, I.S. Bindra, former BCCI president, has backed Modi and, according to a BCCI official, has written to Manohar saying that while he agreed that Modi should not have used a social networking site to air his opinions, he has been right in being cautious about the partners chosen. Mint couldn’t reach Bindra late on Monday evening.
The person who read out both letters claimed that Modi responded to Manohar in a letter of his own, saying that the shareholding structure of a franchisee wasn’t something to hide and that the Kochi team had a lot to hide. This person added that Modi wrote in the letter that he received a telephone call from the minister of state for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor, asking him “not to question who the shareholders (of the Kochi team) are”.
Tharoor’s friend Sunanda Pushkar, media reports seen on the Internet claimed on Monday, holds an 18% stake in the Kochi franchisee. However, one of the co-owners of the team who did not wish to be identified, said Tharoor had no stake in the team and that Pushkar had a 20% stake in the Rendezvous parent company that, in turn, has a 25% stake in the team.
The media reports also said that Tharoor could marry Pushkar, a Dubai-based businesswoman, but Jacob Joseph, Tharoor’s officer on special duty, rubbished the reports. “Mr. Tharoor is not getting married to anyone now,” he said.