IPL 3 has been exciting both on and off field. It has been said often that T-20 format would compete with Bollywood films because it is short (3 hrs), captivating and glamorous. And the predictions were more or less correct!
But what was not predicted that time was the IPL itself would become ‘philmey’ (filmy in Bollywood terms). What has unfold in last few days is nothing short of a Manmohan Desai or a Abbas-Mustan or a Ram Gopal Verma films…in fact combination of all of these (and many more)
Let’s start with the main actors and see how and where we end up:
It all started with announcement of 2 new IPL teams, life was much happening and yet smooth-sailing for Modi and Co. till then. So how did all the controversy start (or came to light..)
Nope. It was not because of the above image…
It all began of April 12 when Lalit Modi, commissioner of Indian Premier League (a domestic Cricket League which is into its 3rd season and is already a multi-billion event), tweeted about the details of Kochi team, a new franchise in IPL 4, that was sold on March 21 for Rs. 1530 crores ($310 million). Sunanda Pushkar, close associate of Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, owned 18% free equity of the franchise. One of the partners in the consortium was Rendezvous Sports which was given 25% free equity at no cost, of which 18% was given to Sunanda!
This set the ball rolling…and lets see events that happened thereafter:
Tharoor replied next day with tweet – I’ve had enough followed by his press-conference link on this issue.
Vivek Venugopal, a co-owner of Kochi team asked Modi to reveal team ownership structure of 8 existing teams
Shashank Manohar, President of BCCI (highest cricketing authority in India that owns IPL), rebuked Lalit Modi over his public disclosure
CEO of Kochi team publicly announced that Lalit Modi had offered them USD 50 million to sell Kochi team (apparantly Modi wanted someone else to get the franchise)
Another spokesperson of Rendezvous Sports alleged that Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujrat, along with Lalit Modi had tried to pressurise Kochi team owners to give up IPL franchise
Meanwhile Tharoor said to a news channel that question of giving up minister ship was out of question and that ‘resigning would mean giving up’
Then Shashi Tharoor met Prime Minister of India on April 18 and briefed him. The same evening he resigned. He said he ‘did not want to embarrass Government.’ The resignation was accepted with immediate effect.
(This closes one sub-plot of Philmey League…if you want a break take it NOW!)
During all this the Income Tax department of India had taken a note of all the allegations and it began enquiring Modi on Apr 16 (Now one can guess that I-T dept on its own won’t move…unless some higher authorities direct them to!)
I-T Dept searched IPL’s office, Lalit Modi’s office and the hotel where Modi had stayed
The BCCI said it had ‘clipped wings of Lalit Modi’ and that BCCI Chief Manohar was projected to Co-chairman of IPL. And that BCCi was not happy with Modi’s way of functioning and would discuss that on Apr 26
With Tharoor gone, its BCCI vs Modi now. And the strongman Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar is still backing up Modi (his last but strongest supporter)
On Apr 20 Sharad Pawar met Finance Minister and Home Minister and Pawar was told not to back Lalit Modi.
Pawar’s next statement was ‘IPL governing council would discuss and take collective decision! Rumours spread that Shashank Manohar, now the Co-chairman of IPL would take over from Lalit Modi after IPL3
As the plot stands now: Modi is in trouble…and threat is from BCCI – which is entirely controlled by Sharad Pawar!!!
Now the Philmey League script would take several twists and turns and see how:
The news was planted in media that –
- the TV broadcaster Sony MSM that paid multi-million dollars to bag TV rights had on its board (with some stake) some Prashant Sule – who happens to be son-in-law of Sharad Pawar
- another Sharad Pawar aide Prafull Patel, who also is Civil Aviation Minister, had helped leak the bid documents to Kochi team (helping them win the bid for the franchise)
- and how did this happen? – Well, Prafull Patel’s secretary received the bid documents and a business plan two days prior to bids were due. Who sent these documents to Prafull Patel’ s secretary? Prafull Patel’s own daughter!!!
- And how she got hold of these documents??? Oh…here comes the classic twist of the Philmey League script.
- Poorna Patel, the daughter of Prafull Patel works for IPL as personal secretary of Lalit Modi!!!
Meanwhile – Kolkata, Bangalore and Jaipur franchise stood back behind Lalit Modi. Consequence??? Income Tax Dept raided offices of all three seeking details about their ownership structure, financial status and possible illegal money transfer outside India and/or tax evasion 🙂
Now it was Modi’s turn –
Modi said he would challenge the possible BCCI action against him and would move court.
At the same time another news just ‘leaked’ in the media – Prafull Patel’s (who is Civil Aviation Minister) daughter, Poorna cancelled one of the flights of domestic airline (owned by Government of India), apparently the same flight was used to charter Poorna and her celebrity friends and guests of IPL to go watch an IPL match!!!
When CEO of the airlines was asked about it, he said “there is nothing unusual in this. Many a times we have to cancel flights and many a times the flights are chartered to Army or Rescue operations or foreign guests/ delegates” 🙂
Another business house Adani, that had submitted bid for IPL franchise said that its bid papers have gone missing!!!
A former cricket captain Pataudi has came out strongly against Modi and criticized him. Pataudi’s other connection with Modi??? Well, Pataudi’s son, film star Saif Ali Khan was one of the initial bidders for franchise but lost the race eventually…I now doubt if there could be a comment/ allegation that did not have any ‘second link’
The latest in this exciting script that is unfolding every minute is –
- Modi has dared BCCI to remove him though he would not move court
- Another story has leaked in media about how Modi has made a fortune by making personal arrangements with the franchise and has also bought a personal Jet out of it!!!
Look forward to how this Philmey story ends – if ever it ends!
Meanwhile – a sub-plot has emerged out of this. In all this Government tapped the phone calls of many people involved. Now the opposition (out of its own fear) has questioned this phone-tapping and is trying to corner the Government…
For someone unfamiliar with India, it would be difficult to understand where things start and what they lead to. I do not know of other Sports controversies that reveal so deep-rooted connections with politicians, sports officials/ players, film stars, celebrities and businessmen – all at the same time!