All izz not well with the Indian Premier League's bidding process.
If top sources are to be believed, then not many prospective buyers are expected to attend the revised bidding, scheduled in Chennai on March 21. The Kochi-based Kerala group, which fancied their chances till a week ago, will also not attend what they describe as a farce.
At least two other influential prospective buyers from Bollywood are learnt to have given the thumbs down to the highly-anticipated event.
Team Kochi was floated by Malayalam superstar Mohanlal and National-award winning director Priyadarshan along with some Non-Resident Keralites in West Asia and Mumbai. A top MP and minister at the Centre is said to be part of the team.
The controversial clauses may have been changed on March 7, 2010, with the last-minute intervention of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, but many conglomerates still feel the process is not transparent enough to take part in.
If top persons close to the consortium are to be believed, then Team Kochi will not go for the revised bidding.
Seeking anonymity, a top Dubai-based industrialist told rediff.com, "We are not at all happy with the proceedings leading up to the bidding. We were not taken into confidence by the IPL administrators. The picture has not changed even after the IPL governing council changed the disputed terms and conditions. It looks like they have already decided on the two teams."
The industrialist, who was camping in Dubai, added, "We won't go for the bidding. It is a waste of time and energy. Many of us had taken time off our busy schedule and converged in Mumbai to build that long dream of having a team for Kerala. If they have already decided on the two teams, then why should we go for the farce and lose at least Rs 8 crore in the process? All of us have gone back to our respective places."
He said some members then floated the idea of having a stake in other franchises, who are ready to sell off.
"All we wanted was a team for Kerala, not a stake in, say, Hyderabad. Nobody was willing to do that," he said.
Asked to name the two teams, he said, with a tinge of sarcasm, "It is too obvious to name the franchises. Who all turned up at the Mumbai bidding even when the clauses were not good?"
It is reliably learnt that some other top prospective buyers, including Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, too will not take part in the Chennai bidding. Sources in the know of the developments indicate the actor, too, has lost confidence in the IPL bidding process.
Another group, comprising Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt, too, may back out at the last minute. However, rediff.com could not confirm this.
The Kerala-based Muthoot Group wanted to join Mohanlal and Priyadarshan in the IPL bids earlier, but backed out citing high financial involvement. It is highly unlikely that the Muthoot Group will go for individual bidding.
When contacted, both Priyadarshan and Mohanlal refused to comment on the developments.
Unless last-minute intervention takes place, sources say, Kerala's long-cherished dream of having an IPL team will continue to remain only on paper.