After being rocked by charges of financial irregularities, the Indian Premier League was on Wednesday hit by a fresh controversy with a report claiming that the players' auction in 2009 was fixed.
According to CNN-IBN, Chennai Super Kings' owner and BCCI secretary N Srinivasan and suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi could have been involved in ensuring specific players for the Chennai franchise.
The Chennai franchise, owned by Indian Cements, has denied any wrongdoing and said all these reports were "deliberate attempt to tarnish Chennai Super Kings and Indian Cements image".
The report, which quoted emails exchanged between Modi and Srinivasan, also raised questions over the authenticity of the auction that took place in 2009 as it was learnt that Srinivasan tried to fix the bid of former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff in his favour.
The channel quoted an email purportedly written by Modi to Srinivasan, which read "what a nightmare to convince them not to terminate (Sohail) Tanvir and also not to take Flintoff. Warne went off the handle. But have managed it by using stick and carrot strategy. Thus they have USD 1.875mn. Much loved Lalit".
CNN-IBN said two days later Flintoff was bought by Chennai Super Kings for a whopping USD 1.55mn, making him IPL's most expensive player.
"In the bidding process, we had full amount of USD 2mn available for us. It was Rajasthan Royals who were aggressively bidding for Andrew Flintoff for USD 1.5mn. We finally acquired Flintoff for USD 1.5mn," an Indian Cements spokesman said.
"When we won Flintoff in the bid where is the question of malpractice?" the spokesman questioned.
Srinivasan, later talking to Times Now, said "Chennai Superkings is the only team which had the full two million purse. Everybody else had less. So we didn't need anybody's favours to buy Flintoff.
"He (Flintoff) could have sent an unsolicited mail to everybody. I don't known how many people he sent it to. I have nothing about Keiron Pollard. I have not seen it. I don't have any e-mail on Pollard. No one has referred any mail that I want him."
The BCCI secretary added, "I have not sent any mail that I want him. Rajasthan Royals bid for Flintoff at 1.5 million, I beat them at 1.55 million. So where is the deal? How can I have any deal? How can Modi have any contract of Shane Warne unless he is owner of Rajasthan Royals. We did nothing wrong. We were fair and square."