Banker Sushen Jhingan behind Sashi Tharoor & IPL Kochi team?

14 Apr 2010, 0545 hrs IST,Prabhakar Sinha,TNN

for more on Tharoor-

NEW DELHI: Does the Kochi franchisee have a big banker behind it? The wife of an influential official of Standard Chartered Bank, Sushen Jhingan, who is reputed to be close to big business tycoons, is also a stake holder in Rendezvous Sports. The lady, Puja Gulati (her maiden name), is also a director of Rendezvous.

Repeated attempts to contact Sushen Jhingan on his mobile phone failed. It’s said he played a crucial role in clinching the deal for Kochi.

Jhingan works as a liaison officer (director, public affairs) in the bank. His contacts in the government are said to have helped him in bringing together the interested parties for the Kochi team.

Close associates of Jhingan claimed he wasn’t financing his wife. They said Puja comes from a “rich family and bought the stake with the money she inherited from her parents”. She has claimed to the media that her stake is paid for, not free as suggested by Lalit Modi in his tweets.

Sources in the banking sector said that being a banker, Jhingan knows the tricks of bidding in an auction.

Kochi IPL franchisees knock Sonia’s doors

April 14, 2010 03:30 IST

Harassed and bullied, the Kochi franchisees of cricket’s Indian Premier League [ Images ] have sought the protection of Congress president Sonia Gandhi [ Images ] from two Union cabinet ministers, who allegedly wanted them out of IPL.

At least two of the seven investors of Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), that won the franchise for Kochi, were last week summoned to the Mumbai [ Images ] residence of a Union cabinet minister and told to back off from bidding for Kochi or else.

“We have many ways to take care of the likes of you,” the two now-scared investors were told at the end of a conversation with the minister that began at 10 pm and went on till 4 am. They were told to go to Delhi [ Images ] to meet another minister from the same party, who apologised for his colleague’s conduct but repeated: “Get out of IPL. Sell the team.”

The two investors are not helpless individuals. One of them runs an industry. Another owns a broking firm and deals in precious gems. They are millionaires. But, they say, when they decided to invest in cricket, they did not think they were putting their lives in their hands.

The story begins a year ago, when a group of seven high net worth individuals decided that in the next one year, IPL would be ready to launch two new teams and this could be a good investment opportunity.

A banker led the group of seven. As Kochi was one of the venues, the group decided it would be helpful if an elected representative from Kerala [ Images ] were to support the venture. They approached Shashi Tharoor [ Images ], who recognised the political spin-off and supported the holding of his companion, Sunanda Pushkar. Pushkar has five per cent holding in the team, not 20 per cent as widely reported, a member of the consortium said.

RSW was a group of sport lovers, which had been doing some charity sports events, but was not well known. The stakes for bidding were high — the company was required to have a net worth of $1 billion (Rs 4,500 crore).The group decided it needed some financial ballast and managed to rope in J P Gaur of the Gaur group. “We thought that if we have to compete with groups like Hero Honda [ Images ] and the Jaypee group, we needed someone with deep pockets and an appetite for risk,” said one of the RSW members.

At that point, it was clear that there were at least two other venues for which bidding was on aggressively — Ahmedabad [ Images ], sought by the Adani group and Pune, sought by Videocon [ Get Quote ] and Sahara. Gaur decided he wanted to compete independently and walked out. The financial ballast was gone.

Then, RSW realised they were being edged out of the game. They pulled strings in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and got the threshold lowered to 10 per cent of the original figure: Rs 46 crore. The first lot of bids was cancelled and re-bidding was scheduled in Chennai two weeks later.

It was a Sunday morning. A cricket match was on in Chennai. Five companies were in the fray: Adani, Videocon, RSW, Cyrus Poonawalla with builder Ajay Shirke, and the Sahara group.

RSW got the first inkling that something was not quite kosher when they got a message that their bid should be below $300 million. They consulted among themselves and kept the bid at $333 million (Rs 1,533 crore). Sahara bid $370 million (Rs 1,702 crore). Videocon’s bid was $320 million, Adani bid $315 million. Theirs was the closest and they got the franchise.

The members wanted to pop the cork. Too early, cautioned their leader. Get the letter of franchise first. They met IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi [ Images ] in Delhi. The daughter of one of the ministers was present in the room. This was when suggestions were made that they should take $50 million and walk away.

The group was first amused, then flummoxed. “Suppose we walk,” asked one, “who is going to give us $50 million?”

An investment banker, was the laconic reply.

“Come on,” said the leader. “I am an investment banker. I know no one will pay this order of money.”

“A client of an investment banker,” they were told.

The group conferred among themselves and said prestige was involved. “We won’t go,” they said.

That was not the end. The letter of franchise was delayed on one or other pretext: Contingent liability, declaration of shareholding pattern, finally, a 10 per cent bank guarantee. The message at the end always was: “Why get into this ? Sell the team.”

The last straw was the meeting at the minister’s bungalow.

The group has finally decided that if political power is what will get them justice, they, too, will knock at the door of politicians. Meanwhile, although the consortium is not breaking up, the strain is telling on it. Shashi Tharoor has confided in friends that he may have to put off wedding plans. Sunanda Pushkar is close to a breakdown. The two Gujarati investors have hired additional personal protection for themselves and their families.

“The game was to get us out and give the franchise to the next bidder,” said a member of the consortium.

This is when a franchisee has to look at 40 to 50 per cent losses in the first two years. “We are looking at a net loss of Rs 100 crore at least, for the first two years,” one of them said.

Neutral observers say the episode is a clash between two groups of “very clever people”. “The conflict of interest in Lalit Modi’s case is clear: His son-in-law has been given web advertising rights and his brother-in-law has a team. And, in Shashi Tharoor’s case, the woman whom he is going to marry has been given free equity worth Rs 75 crore today but it could be worth Rs 500 crore a few years from now. And, when you look at it, the minister of state in charge of the Middle East also has 100 per cent of his business in the Middle East: does that sound like propriety?” asked a member of the BCCI governing council.


7 Responses to Banker Sushen Jhingan behind Sashi Tharoor & IPL Kochi team?

  1. anitha says:

    It is obvious and clear, Lalit Modi is batting for someone. Mr.Tharoor has not done anything wrong, all he has done, to make sure that Kerala had its IPL franchisee. Bjp is asking for his pound of flesh, what moral right they have to ask for. Actually Lalit Modi wanted Ahmedbad to have the franchise.

    • devapriyaji says:

      Unwarranted attack on Gujarat Chief minister is edited.

      The worth of equity given to Sunanda as free equity is worth 80 Crore an indirect bribe to Tharoor

    • devapriyaji says:

      Unwarranted attack on Gujarat Chief minister is edited.

      The worth of equity given to Sunanda as free equity is worth 80 Crore an indirect bribe to Tharoor

  2. anitha says:

    It is not an unwarranted attack on Gujarat Cm. It is obvious and clear that Ahmedbad wants a IPL franchise.

  3. anitha says:

    Now it is very clear in the day light Minister of Gujarat has come out to the media to explain Gujarat Goverment stand regarding the allegation Why should they do ? Look at the Sharad Pawars disclosure? It is very clear to whom Lalit Modi is batting for .

    Not a single rupee has gone ms sunanda pushkar account, 18% free equity which is given to Sunanda, which is sweat equity, in exchange for management services to be rendered by her for servicing the consortium for 10 years. It all depends how the consortium whether have profit or not through IPL investment at that time (after 10 years). It has been explicitly recorded in the joint venture document submitted to BCCI-IPL. It is absolutely wrong that some people to understand that have been given any free equity.

    It is obvious and very clear Narendra Modi is behind the show.

  4. anitha soman says:

    Mr. Shashi Tharoor has not done any thing wrong, he stood for kerala not like other MPs and M.l.A ‘s we have seen in the past and present. Neither the BJP or Left had no authority or morality to demand his resignation. We know very well what is happenning in kerala, how kodyeri, pinarayi mafia dons run the kerala Government ?. How many times Kodyeri should have resigned for the case of “impropriety” ? Just now Pinaryi went to Gulf tour to collect money for Nayanar memorial ? Is there any accountability ? How about BJP ? They are protecting BELARI brothers mining dons in their BJP ministry, for the sake of BJP rule in Karnataka. How many corrupt anti nationals are in BJP, people like Narendra Modi, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi etc are fake individuals and are born criminals. Look at this, they are opposing Shibu Soren when he was a Union MInister for his pending criminal case , they stalled the Parliament several occassion for his resignation. When BJP lossed their legislative strength in recent Jharkhand election they made Shibu Soren as the chief minister and shared power with him. IS there any meaning in what they stand ? It is a matter of introspection every Indian national to go through.

    • devapriyaji says:

      You can believe any type of superstitions.

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