Television

Dalmiya accuses BCCI of foul play over TV rights

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ontroversy. On Tuesday he raised questions on the board's decision to award to Nimbus the telecast rights to India cricket, accusing it of losing Rs 814 million on the deal.
Though Nimbus put in a composite winning bid of $612.18 million, Dalmiya said the individual bids for the various rights were worth $630 million. In order to prove his point, he quoted tender documents and other communications from the board to the bidders.

"This means the board did not receive $ 18.09 million and this converted to Indian currency works out to Rs 814 million," Dalmiya was quoted as saying in a PTI report.

"This obviously leads to some serious questions. Was any undue advantage given to Nimbus? Whether any vested interest was at work? Whether concession was given to somebody by somebody?" Dalmiya asked.

Nimbus Communications (India) was the highest bidder with $504.09 for the India rights, while for the international rights the highest offer of $126.18 million was given by Nimbus Sports Pte (Singapore).

"But we find that the entire rights were given to Nimbus Communications (India) even though their offer for international rights ($108.09 million) was significantly lower than that of Nimbus Singapore Pte," Dalmiya told PTI.

According to the criteria laid down by the Board at the time of floating the tenders, the international rights should have gone to Nimbus (Singapore), Dalmiya pointed out.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), of which Dalmiya was the president, had written to the BCCI on 1 March raising the questions. But a reply was yet to be received, Dalmiya said.

"I hear people (the powers that be in BCCI) shouting from the rooftops about transparency. This is an example of that," he said sarcastically.

The PTI report quoted the letter by CAB joint secretary Amitabha Banerjee: "We understand that board vice president (Lalit) Modi himself issued clarifications during the tender process that made it clear that maximisation of revenue was the main objective and for this purpose, the bidders were asked to make optimum combinations possible."

The letter also raised questions on whether the board had signed an agreement with the winning bidder and whether Nimbus had deposited the requisite amount of Rs two billion with the board throughout the duration of the agreement.

Banerjee's letter, referred to by Dalmiya on Tuesday, also asked if concessions were allowed to Nimbus and whether it furnished rolling bank guarantees.

Reacting to Dalmiya's allegations, BCCI marketing committee member I S Bindra rubbished the charges, saying the former president was trying to "divert the attention" from the showcause notice issued on him.

"We welcome Dalmiya to have a public discussion about the tenders for the telecast rights, which have been awarded in a fully transparent manner," Bindra, himself a former BCCI president, was quoted as saying in a separate PTI report.

"He (Dalmiya) only wants to divert the attention from the chargesheet. We are answerable and are prepared to have a public discussion with him on any (news) channel," he said.

Last month, the BCCI had issued a showcause notice to Dalmiya, accusing him of siphoning off money from the PILCOM (Pakistan-India-Sri Lanka Committee).

BCCI joint secretary M P Pandove defended the transparency of the tenders and the bidding process. "The tenders were opened in Mumbai in January and all comparative bids were shown on a screen. The whole system was transparent and nobody raised any objection then. I don't know from where Dalmiya has arrived at this figure (18 million loss)," Pandove was quoted as saying in the PTI report.

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