Monday, November 29, 1999

Corporate affairs min to field RoC to catch unsuccessful IPL bidders off guard

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With the union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar being the latest IPL casualty for his and his family's alleged 16% stake in the Pune-based construction company City corporation, the corporate affairs ministry is mulling expanding the scope of the probe.According to government sources, the ministry is going to direct the registrar of companies (RoC) to seek exhaustive details on company ownership, conditions of the bidding process and copies of the franchisee agreement from all the unsuccessful bidders of the IPL as well. So far MCA has been probing the successful bidders of the IPL teams only."If we are to do a thorough probe then it would be incomplete without looking into the books of all the bidders...there is a proposal to probe the unsuccessful bidders as well that has been internally generated by the ministry. We are looking into the feasibility of it," a source said. He added that senior officials of the ministry would be meeting later this week to deliberate on the matter.The source also added that apart from seeking ownership details, the RoC may also demand complete information on the financial obligations of the bidders- a condition that may come into stiff resistance from the bidders. "There is still no clarity on how these franchisees would have raised the money for the bid. We need to look into that as well."According to reports, Pawar and his family hold over 33.6 lakh shares of City Corporation that accounts for 16% of the consortium. The total bid size of the group was around Rs 1,176 crore. However, Sahara Group won the bid for the Pune IPL team.It is alleged that Pawar and his family hold these shares through two wholly-owned companies of theirs - Lap Finance and Consultancy Pvt Ltd and Namratta Film Enterprises Pvt Ltd. Apart from Pawar, these companies are co-owned by his wife Pratibha and daughter Supriya Sule, who is also an MP.Following the spat between the former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor and now suspended IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi over Tharoor's friend Sunanda Pushkar's sweat equity stake in the Kochi IPL, MCA had directed the RoC to conduct a detailed probe of the promoter companies of the IPL teams.

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1 comment:

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