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Ahmedabad, April 15, 2010
Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah today denied allegations by the IPL Kochi team that state Chief Minister Narendra Modi was behind the pressure exerted by IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi on its stakeholders to give up their rights so that the franchise could be shifted to Ahmedabad.
Mr Satyajit Gaekwad, spokesperson for Rendezvous Sports, one of the members of the consortium that won the franchise for Rs 1530 crore, told television channels that Mr Lalit Modi had put pressure on them at the instance of the Chief Minister.
According to him, the worried members of the consortium then approached former BCCI President and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who advised them to stay on with Kochi.
Mr Shah said the allegations were completely false and baseless.
Meanwhile, former Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) President and senior Congress leader Narhari Amin joined the fray today, making much the same allegations and saying the BJP government in the state, headed by Mr Narendra Modi, was behind the entire controversy surrounding the IPL Kochi team because it wanted the franchise to be shifted to Ahmedabad.
Mr Amin alleged that Mr Shah was present at a meeting at the Motera cricket stadium here between Mr Lalit Modi and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani where the bid for the Gujarat team was discussed. As it turned out, the consortium led by Rendezvous emerged as the second biggest bidder after Sahara.
He alleged that the current controversy was kicked up only after the Adani Group's failure to win the bid.
Mr Shah denied he had arranged any meeting between Mr Lalit Modi and Mr Adani and said that he was, in fact, even unaware that the two had held any such meeting.
He also pointed out that no one could control the outcome of such an auction and the franchises had finally gone to the two highest bidders. He asserted that Mr Amin's allegations were totally baseless and untruthful.