Regulators

Bukhatir's India passage facilitated by govt

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NEW DELHI: It can be called a classic case of on-field aggression and off-field diplomacy. By the Indian government, that is.

The eyeball-to-eyeball face-off between Dubai -based Taj TV Ltd and Indian authorities, particularly pubcaster Doordarshan, notwithstanding, an element of courtesy facilitated Taj Sports promoter's Delhi visit.

At a time when Taj Sports owner-cum-promoter A R Bukhatir wanted to come to India ---rightly so as the action was taking place here and not in Pakistan for his company --- he met up against one of the unlikeliest of the speed-breakers: lack of visa permission.

According to information available with indiantelevision.com, Bukhatir wanted to be in India on Monday when the Supreme Court heard a Special leave Petition (SLP) filed by Taj TV's Indian agents, Taj Sports India Pvt Ltd, relating to the cricket telecast controversy.

Having decided to that, he was not getting the visa on time. So, a request was made to the Indian government that a visa may be arranged on arrival at the Delhi airport. It was also conveyed that he would be interested in meeting up with people in the Indian government as well.

Bukhatir's request was acceded to, though India, unlike some other countries like Dubai, does not generally have a system where visa-on-arrival model is followed.

Though Bukhatir could not meet up with information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad or law minister Arun Jaitley, he did manage to interact with latter over phone.

But, surprisingly, Bukhatir, through his Indian associates, did not try to have a meeting with Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma. Prasar Bharati manages Doordarshan with whom Taj TV Ltd is having problems of having to share feeds till today's match. A move, which has been described by Ten as, an activity leading to long-term loss of revenue.

Bukhatir is described as the architect of Sharjah emerging as a cricketing destination and the petro-dollars pumped into cricket by this Dubai-based man has also made the birth of Ten Sports possible.

Just for the records, Taj Television Ltd. was established in January 2001, and is owned by Bukhatir Investments Limited, one of the most successful conglomerates in the UAE.

The interest of the company group ranges from banking, construction, real estate, trading, information technology, cricket and television. Broadcast out of Dubai Media City with five offices across the Indian sub-continent, Taj Television Limited employs over 100 highly skilled and experienced professionals from India and all over the

world.

Its portfolio consists of Ten Sports, television production, broadcasting solutions, remote television production and event management with the last activity not very apparent in India.

When Bukhatir was asked today by newspersons whether he would term gambling the bidding for Pakisatn cricket and stumbling across a prize-winning lottery called Indo-Pak series, the soft-spoken sheikh from Dubai replied, "I love the game of cricket and had foreseen that such a series would happen sometime."

Call that foresight or a remark made on hindsight, Ten Sports' bottomlines, despite assertions made to the contrary, would turn out to be very healthy after the conclusion of the ongoing Indo-Pak cricket series.

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