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Modi accuses Tharoor of having hidden agenda

Last updated on: April 16, 2010 14:13 IST

Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi on Friday accused Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor of having an agenda in promoting the Kochi IPL fanchise, and asserted that he won't let that agenda succeed.

"Tharoor has an agenda. I won't let it succeed," said Modi.

A private television channel quoted Modi as saying that he won't allow any hidden agenda to take over IPL.

Modi further said that Tharoor wants the team to be based in Abu Dhabi, which he wouldn't allow.

"I can't understand why the team needs to be in Abu Dhabi. Shashi Tharoor's agenda will be shut down, believe me," said Modi.

Brushing aside all media reports that said Modi may step down from the post of IPL Commissioner and that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar may be appointed as the Co-Chairman of IPL, Modi said: "I am the IPL Chairman and will stay on."

Modi though admitted that there was a divide in the BCCI on the style of functioning. "I am sure there will be a divide. We have lived with the divide in the past and we will live with it in future. But we are not going to allow it (IPL) to derail. It's a baby we have built together and we will preserve it and preserve it to the hilt," he said.

He also said neither the IPL shareholders nor the BCCI knew who Sunanda Pushkar was, and did not care who she was.

It may be recalled that the media had said that Pushkar had acquired Rs 70 crore equity in the Kochi IPL franchise.

About the reported intention to shift the Kochi IPL franchise to Abu Dhabi, Modi said that the "IPL is an Indian League and no IPL team would be allowed to establish a base outside India."

Meanwhile, Tharoor has said that he did not misuse his official position and has no role in the Indian Premier League (IPL) bidding process.

"My ministerial position irrelevant," said Tharoor, adding that he had no role in the Kochi IPL consortium.

A private television channel quoted Tharoor as saying that his role was that of an informal mentor, adding that an IPL team is the dream of many cricket lovers in Kerala.

"The notion of proxy for me is insulting," said Tharoor, adding that the reference to Sunanda Pushkar has hurt him, NDTV reported.

"I was in no position to influence the bid," said Tharoor, asserting that money was never a motivating factor for him.

Tharoor is reportedly in trouble after Modi tweeted to reveal that Sunanda Pushkar, a close associate of Tharoor, had been gifted equity worth Rs 70 crores in the new Kochi team which was sold for Rs 1530 crores last month.

Modi in his email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar had stated it was Tharoor who called him and instructed him not to reveal the identities of the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL franchisee.

Tharoor, however, has denied pressurising Modi.

Tharoor said he had ''enough'' of the controversy and went on to deny any monetary interest in the Kochi IPL team.