All this controversy surrounding the Kochi franchise, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, it started when on 12th April, Lalit Modi revealed the names of those involved in the ownership of the new IPL team - Kochi.Lalit Modi's controversial tweets over the ownership structure of new IPL entrant Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) led to a virtual showdown with the Kochi franchise threatening to sue the IPL Commissioner for breaking the confidentiality terms.
Modi disclosed the names of the free equity holders in the little known RSW which coughed up approximately Rs 1533 crore to bag the Kochi franchise, a move which put Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor in a spot of bother as Sunanda Pushkar, the lady whom he is reportedly planning to marry, figured in the list.
Miffed by the disclosure, RSW threatened to send a legal notice to Modi and accused the IPL Commissioner of breaking the confidentiality terms. The Kochi franchise has also complained to BCCI president Shashank Manohar about Modi's indiscretion.
Modi wrote on his Twitter page that the free equity holders in RSW include Kisan, Shailender and Pushpa Gaikwad, Sunanda Pushkar, Puja Gulati, Jayant Kotalwar, Vishnu Prasad and Sundip Agarwal.
Media reports have said that Tharoor proposed to marry Sunanda Pushkar, a Kashmiri girl. Trained as a beautician, she runs a spa and has lived in Dubai.
After some hours, RSW reacted sharply to Modi and even disputed his claim that Sunanda had 18 per cent stake in the franchise.
According to sources, the Kochi franchise wants Modi to disclose the stake-holding pattern in other franchises like Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab.
RSW sources claimed that Modi was interested in having Ahmedabad as one of the franchises for the subsequent IPL seasons and was therefore creating problems for Kochi which emerged as the second highest bidder in the auction.
On 14th April, According to a TV channel, Tharoor's OSD Jacob Joseph said that Modi was unfit to run cricket as he had been charged and convicted of drug possession in the US and demanded that the ownership of Rajasthan Royals - the IPL chief is allegedly close to the team - be revealed.
Joseph told the TV channel that "Why isn't he talking about two other teams which are registered in Mauritius? Why is he insisting only on the ownership of Kochi franchisee? He has brought disrepute to IPL and cricket.
Kerala Cricket Association backed Shashi Tharoor in his public spat with Lalit Modi over Kochi franchise with its president TC Mathew saying if it was not for the minister the state would not have dreamt of owning an IPL team.
The Lalit Modi-Shashi Tharoor slugfest took a curious and dramatic turn on Wednesday (14th April), with the latter's aide receiving a "death threat" on SMS, directed at the junior foreign minister, demanding that he immediately apologize to Modi.
Mathew said the KCA was strongly behind Tharoor in his hour of crisis.
New twist to the controversy comes in the evening of 14th April, when Kochi team's owner - Rendezvous Sports - alleged that IPL Commisioner Lalit Modi had offerd a $50m bribe to withdraw from the race, prompting him to threaten legal action.
Shailendra Gaikwad, CEO of the franchise, alleged within hours of Modi telling reporters that there was a question mark over the fate of the new team, secured by a bid of Rs 1533 crore last month.
Hours after Modi told a press conference that there was a question mark over the owners of the Kochi franchise, Gaikwad hit back at the IPL Commissioner saying that they were being deliberately made to go through a "tough time" because they refused the offer.
On 15th April, Kochi franchise alleged that IPL commissioner Lalit Modi is targetting the new team under pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The franchise' spokesperson Satyajit Gaekwad told reporters on thursday - "We were told that we won't be allowed to work. The Adani group and Narendra Modi had a stake in the Ahmedabad IPL bid. After we won the bid, our investors spoke to (former BCCI chief) Sharad Pawar and asked him which city to choose. He said 'you can take your pick', so we decided to take Kochi".
After the statement of Gaekwad Gujarat govt refutes allegations against Narendra Modi, Shah who is vice-president of GCA said, "GCA or its president (Modi) has nothing to do with the entire controversy. Allegations levelled against us are baseless,"
To a question whether a meeting was held between Lalit Modi, one of the bidders for Ahmedabad team Gautam Adani and Narendra Modi before the bidding process started in Ahmedabad, Shah said, "I am not aware of any such meeting. Such meetings have no meaning as far as open bid system is concerned."
In reply to another question on whether GCA had backed Adani group in bidding for Ahmedabad IPL team, the Gujarat minister said IPL auction is entirely based on open bidding system where backing is not required.
To a question whether Gujarati promoters of Kochi team had met the chief minister and offered to shift base to Ahmedabad, Shah said he was not aware of any such meeting.
Looking after all the issue, Sharad Pawar came out in support of IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, saying there was nothing wrong in making public names of the stakeholders of the Kochi franchise.
He said that, if the IPL Commissioner or BCCI President is asking any information about any bid, they have got every right to ask for the information because unless and until they collect the correct information, they will not realise who are behind this.
The former BCCI President also supported Tharoor who helped set up the consortium which bagged the Kochi franchise, saying the minister's "basic interest" was to bring cricket to center stage in Kerala and provide opportunities to players from the state.
The Agriculture Minister hoped the IPL governing council meeting later this month will clear the "misunderstandings".
Pawar said he did not believe Lalit Modi offered the Kochi franchise $50 million to back out. He also questioned the seriousness of the underworld threat that Tharoor is claimed to have received.