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Sourav Ganguly dismisses conflict of interest claim

The BCCI have informed ombudsman, Justice AP Shah, they were not in the know about Ganguly’s business interests.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Mumbai |
Updated: February 16, 2016 9:40:05 am
sourav-ganguly_pti-m Sourav Ganguly admits to having a stake in Atletico de Kolkata but clarifies he has no stake or interest with newly created IPL team – Rising Pune Supergiants.

A “nonplussed” Sourav Ganguly has defended himself against the conflict of interest allegations but has conceded that he has a 5 per cent stake in Atletico de Kolkata, the football club owned by the promoters of the new Pune IPL franchise. In his response to a complaint filed by Niraj Gunde with the ombudsman, the former India captain, who is a member of the IPL governing council, has claimed he has no interest or connection with New Rising Promoters Pvt. Ltd. that owns Rising Pune Supergiants, nor is he aware of their share-holding patterns.

The BCCI have informed ombudsman, Justice AP Shah, they were not in the know about Ganguly’s business interests. Incidentally, BCCI president Shashank Manohar had dismissed allegations of conflict against Ganguly on the day the two new franchises were announced last December.

“As such the complaint has left me nonplussed. I am a partner with 6.67% share in ‘Catch 22 Informatics LLP’ a limited liability partnership which has about 75% share in Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. In other words my stake in Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd is about 5%. However, I have no interest or stake in or connection with New Rising Promoters Pvt. Ltd. which bid at the auction held on December 8, 2016,” wrote Ganguly to the ombudsman in an email that has been accessed by The Indian Express.

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“BCCI is unaware of the business links of Mr. Sourav Ganguly and this information could be obtained from him directly,” BCCI’s general manager games development Ratnakar Shetty writes on behalf of the board in a mail which is also in possession of this paper.

In his response to the applications filed by Ganguly and BCCI sought by the ombudsman, Gunde has stuck with his allegations, insisting that “Having a 5% stake in the the football team or having 100% stake is immaterial to the case of conflict of interest at hand,” while reiterating many of his initial complaints. Basing it on the BCCI’s application, he also goes on to write that Ganguly failed to disclose his ‘relationship’ with the new IPL team.

“BCCI knew the names and entities who have taken the Invitation to Tender prior to the submission of Bids. A simple company search would have revealed the names of persons who are owners/promotors and their business links,” writes Gunde.

The Indian cricket board has admitted that Ganguly is an IPL governing council member, and that all ‘decisions relating to the League are taken by the Governing Council by majority’. Gunde responded by questioning whether “BCCI is trying to shield Ganguly”.

Gunde further goes on to mention how Ganguly was in attendance during the IPL governing council meeting in Delhi on December 8, 2015 during which the ‘rights’ were awarded to New Rising Promoters. But Ganguly has denied having been present at the time the ‘technical bids’ were officially opened.

“Sealed bids had all been submitted on that day itself. I was away in London and returned that morning to Delhi and by the time I reached the venue of the meeting the technical bids were already opened by the lawyers appointed by BCCI,” he writes. Shetty has seconded Ganguly’s claims with regards to his late arrival for the meeting.

Gunde though isn’t swayed by the argument and believes it doesn’t spare Ganguly from the conflict. “Even if he wasn’t present at the time the technical bids were opened, he was aware of who the five bidders were, and therefore should have disclosed that he had business links with one of them before the process was closed,” he says.

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First published on: 16-02-2016 at 01:47:12 am

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