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New twist to IPL Kochi row

There are fresh allegations that Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and IPL chief Lalit Modi had come together to get a new team for Ahmedabad.

Kochi franchise spokesman Satyajit Gaikwad said everyone knew about Narendra Modi's "nexus" with Lalit Modi and their efforts to deprive Kochi of IPL team and get a slot for Gujarat.

Earlier, the Gujarat Chief Minister, who is also president of the Gujarat Cricket Association, choose to distance himself from the controversy by making one of his ministers to refute the allegations against him.

"Franchise was awarded to the team following the open bidding process and in that no cricketing association or GCA has any role to play," Gujarat minister of state for home, Amit Shah said in Gandhinagar while rubbishing the allegations levelled by Gaikwad.

However, Gaikwad stuck to his allegations, saying, "We were told that we won't be allowed to work."

He claimed that 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."

However, a senior NCP leader, claimed Pawar had nothing to do with the issue.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he alleged that aides of Minister of State of External Affairs Shashi Tharoor were resorting to such tactics to score some brownie points within Congress by speaking against NCP and Narendra Modi.

Tharoor is caught in the controversy amid allegations that his hand was there in Sunanda Pushkar, a close friend, getting free equity worth Rs 70 crore in IPL Kochi, a charge vehemently denied by the minister.

The NCP leader said, "the core issue is for what reason the sweat equity was alloted to Sunanda Pushkar and others. There are others also whose names have come to the fore."

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Narhari Amin alleged that it was at Narendra Modi's behest that Lalit Modi is trying to thwart the Kochi franchise.

Amin, a former Gujarat Cricket Association president, said the entire controversy stemmed from Adani group's failure to secure the Ahmedabad franchise in the IPL bid last month as Rendezvous Sports World outbid them to bag the Kochi team.
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