Kochi franchisees to challenge Modi

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Bangalore, Apr 14 (ANI): With the controversy surrounding the identities of the stakeholders of the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee heating up, members of the Kochi group will meet in Bangalore on Wednesday to determine tactics to counter allegations of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

The Kochi group, as reported, is expected to file legal action against Modi, asking him to issue an apology for breaching the confidentiality clause, which forbids the disclosure of a team's ownership.

Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor is reportedly in trouble after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi tweeted to reveal that Sunanda Pushkar, a close associate of Tharoor, had been gifted equity worth 70 crores in the new Kochi team which was sold for 1530 crores last month.

Modi in his email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar had stated it was Tharoor, who called him and instructed him not to reveal the identities of the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL franchisee.

In tweets on Monday, Modi has accused Tharoor of asking him not to investigate who makes up the Rendezvous Sports World group that led the consortium that bought the Kochi team.

Modi also revealed the details of the different partners and their stake in the Kochi team.

Amid protests by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding a CBI probe and sacking of Tharoor for his alleged role in the IPL auction, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said he would not go by unconfirmed reports and take appropriate action against Tharoor only after checking all the facts.

"I have heard about the allegations against Tharoor. I do not have all the facts before me," said Dr Singh at a press conference in Washington when asked about the demands for the sacking of Tharoor.

"When I go back (on Saturday), I will get all the facts, and in the light of those, if any action is necessary, I think that would be the proper way to proceed. I cannot go by hearsay or what is appearing in the various columns of the newspapers," Dr Singh added before winding up his four-day US visit, where he attended the Nuclear Security Summit.

The BJP had on Tuesday demanded a CBI probe into Tharoor's role in the IPL auction.

Describing Tharoor's link with the new Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kochi, the BJP said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh should order a CBI probe and sack Tharoor.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said of Tharoor that, "It is a patent abuse authority by a Minister."

Tharoor, however, has denied pressurising Modi. (ANI)

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