MUMBAI (TIP): A leading Mumbai businessman, once interested in buying an Indian Premier League franchise today wants nothing to do with the glamorous cricket league. He believes IPL is bringing bad luck to team owners.
Dramatic as it may sound, a quick look at where the owners have landed up post their IPL buys tends to lend credence to this expression of superstition. The businessman was insistent: “Vijay Mallya, Subrata Roy, Venkattram Reddy, the Maran brothers, even Lalit Modi – just look where they are. Isn’t it eerie?”
As facts go, the businessman isn’t off the mark. Subrata Roy is in jail, Reddy was arrested, Mallya is in trouble with the authorities, Maranowned Sun TV is having problems with the home ministry over security clearances, Lalit Modi is wanted by ED, and Sunanda Pushkar is dead. Even love has gone missing from Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta’s lives. And N Srinivasan has lost his prized BCCI president’s chair.
Wait, not just Srinivasan. His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, a mere cricket enthusiast according to his father-in-law, has been pulled up by the Supreme Court for talking to bookmakers and banned for life from cricket. Ditto with another part owner, Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals.
Those who have bucked the trend are movie star Shah Rukh Khan, India’s biggest businessman Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita, and the Delhi franchisee GMR.
Heck, the league itself is now in massive trouble. The judgment delivered by the SC-appointed Justice Lodha committee has reduced the IPL to just six teams of which, again, some are in serious financial trouble.
T Venkattram Reddy, the strapping boss of Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, from Hyderabad, lost his team Deccan Chargers after cases of financial fraud with several banks began surfacing post 2011.
And the owners who replaced the team in Hyderabad – Maran Brothers of Sun TV -are also struggling. Once the eyes and ears of former DMK chief M Karunanidhi, the Chennai media barons are no longer politically protected. Apart from the cloud over their TV channels, they have had to sell their airline SpiceJet back to the original promoter.
Is this the reason why Parth Jindal of Bangalore-based JSW Group doesn’t want to get into the IPL?