City Corporation's Managing Director Aniruddha Deshpande denied Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar or his family's involvement in a failed bid for the Pune IPL team, insisting he acted in individual capacity.
The Pawar family has a 16 per cent equity in City Corporation but Deshpande said the company's Board was not interested in bidding for the team and he went ahead on his own.
"They (the Pawars) have stake (in the company) from 2004. They were with us ever since the inception of the company. Directors and shareholders said 'you bid in your individual capacity'.
"My decision (to bid) was based on the fact that Pune was building a world class cricketing facility and if Pune doesn't get a team, the facility will be under utilised. The MCA (Maharashtra Cricket Association) is the best cricket association. It was the best option with the Pune team to go with the MCA," he said.
Meanwhile, suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi cleared the air on the Pawar ownership issue, saying on Twitter, "Mr Pawar and his family had nothing to do with the bid made by Anirudh Deshpande. He or his family have no stake in any IPL team or nor did they bid for any team.
"Mr Deshpande bid in his personal capacity with a consortium of bidders. The same had been clarified in the bid document clearly. TOI has once again jumped the gun by putting a false story. Media should verify there facts before putting such facts out."
He added: "Mr Anirudh Deshpande and his consortium clearly stated in their bid documents that they will set up a Newco (new company) if they were successful bidders in the IPL auction and he was using the company which he is a shareholder of -- City Corp to only establish his personal Net Worth Criteria. So the details provided by Times of India are completely false in today's article."
Deshpande conceded that the company's name was used while bidding but claimed that he told the IPL authorities that it would not be used once the bid was won.
"Because I had got the tender and by that time the date of buying the tenders was finished. So even before the IPL, the commissioner was present there when the documents were opened. We had given a letter saying that the consortium will be formed post-bidding if we were successful in a different name," he said.
"There was no inappropriateness in putting the company's name in the bidding. The board resolution is there. The board resolution clearly says that because the tender document has been brought in the company's name, you continue with the same tender document because the date of the buying of the tender was over," Deshpande said.
"But they had said that you do it in your personal capacity. The board will not be responsible for this nor the company's finances," he told Times Now.
Deshpande said he was baffled by the controversy surrounding the issue as Pawar and his family were not connected with the bid.
"I don't know why this controversy involving the Pawars has taken place. There is no involvement of the Pawar family. Probably he is the most powerful leader in Maharashtra that's why...Had the Pawars been involved, we wouldn't have come fifth," he said.
"Rs 1,100 cr something we quoted in the bid and came fifth. I don't think anybody is embarrassed with all this. The newspaper has achieved nothing else but to defame Pawars," he said.