Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has blown away the allegations made against him by Niraj Gunde of having a stake in new IPL team Pune Supergiants. Ganguly said that he has a 5 per cent stake in Atletico de Kolkata, the football club owned by the promoters of the new Pune IPL franchise.
Ganguly also said that he has no connection with New Rising Promoters Pvt, Ltd. That owns Rising Pune Supergiants, nor is he aware of their shareholding patterns.
The BCCI have informed ombudsman, Justice AP Shah, they are not aware of Ganguly’s business interests. Incidentally, BCCI president Shashank Manohar had dismissed allegations of conflict of interest against Ganguly on the day two new franchises were announced last December.
“As such the complaint has left me nonplussed. I am a partner with 6.67% share in ‘Catch 22 Informatics LLP’ a limited liability partnership which has about 75% share in Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. In other words my stake in Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd is about 5%. However, I have no interest or stake in or connection with New Rising Promoters Pvt. Ltd. which bid at the auction held on December 8, 2016,” wrote Ganguly replied to the question of the ombudsman in an email.
BCCI’s general manager Ratnakar Shetty in a written statement on behalf of the board said, “BCCI is unaware of the business links of Mr. Sourav Ganguly and this information could be obtained from him directly.”
In response to the applications filed by Ganguly and BCCI sought by the ombudsman, Gunde has stuck with his allegations, insisting that “having a 5 per cent in the football team or having 100 stakes is immaterial to the case of conflicts of interest at hand,” while pointing out many of his initial complaints.
Gunde also said that Ganguly failed to clarify his ‘relationship’ with the new IPL team Pune Supergiants. “BCCI knew the names and entities who have taken the Invitation to Tender prior to the submission of Bids. A simple company search would have revealed the names of persons who are owners/promoters and their business links,” writes Gunde.
The Indian cricket board has also said that Ganguly being a member has the right to take part in the meeting but all ‘decision relating to the League are taken by the Governing Council by majority’.
Gunde also alleged that “BCCI is trying to shield Ganguly”. Gunde further said that how Ganguly was in attendance during the IPL governing council meeting in Delhi on December 8, 2015, during which the ‘rights’ were awarded to New Rising Promoters.
But the Cricket Association of Bengal president has denied his presence in the ‘techinal bids’ were officially opened.
“Sealed bids had all been submitted on that day itself. I was away in London and returned that morning to Delhi and by the time I reached the venue of the meeting the technical bids were already opened by the lawyers appointed by BCCI,” he writes.
Shetty has also back Ganguly’s claims with regards to his late arrival for the meeting. Gunde though isn’t satisfied and believes it doesn’t spare Ganguly from the conflict of interest. “Even if he wasn’t present at the time the technical bids were opened, he was aware of who the five bidders were, and, therefore, should have disclosed that he had business links with one of them before the process was closed,” he says.