Report by Shelley Kasli
Cricket is hardly the primary activity in IPL. The large, growing and dark circle around the field includes a secret society of franchise owners, pretty party girls and men of unknown means. Presiding over this is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has ensured lack of transparency. BCCI is a registered secret society completely autonomous from the Government. It only started paying income tax in 2007 after authorities decided that it wasn’t simply a charitable organisation “promoting the sport of cricket”. In the effort to become successful, IPL has cut corners. Interpol wanted to investigate the bookie phenomenon and and asked for Rs 90 crore as expenses, just as it had asked FIFA when it set out to investigate football sleaze. FIFA paid. International Cricket Council (ICC) President Sharad Pawar refused. Very conveniently, ICC’s Anti Corruption Unit was hired.
Sunanda Pushkar married Sanjay Raina, a Delhi-based VJ who is currently in Australia.
Some friends dubious, says ex – Sunanda’s former husband blames lifestyle, corrects ‘mistakes’
Sunanda Pushkar’s first husband says her “dubious” friends and inclination for a high-profile lifestyle had pulled them apart.
“Her friends were not people I could identify with —some even seemed dubious to me. Anyway, it is from a long time back and belongs to a part of my life I have thrown out of the window,” Sanjay Raina, a Delhi-based VJ who is currently in Australia, told The Telegraph.
He said he could prove that contrary to reports and claims by Sunanda, it was he who had divorced her and not the other way round.
But he was keen to correct bits of information that have been published about him and his ex-wife. “For one, I am not the father of her 13-year-old child. We separated in the mid-’80s within a couple of years of our marriage. So, a simple (calculation) will prove that the child is not mine,” he said.
Soon after her divorce, Sunanda, 48, married a Dubai-based businessman from Kerala, Sujit Menon.
“The couple shifted to Dubai, where Sujit organised a Malayalam superstar’s show that turned out to be a financial disaster for him. Sujit returned home to Kerala alone and later met a tragic end in an accident in Delhi. Sunanda moved to Toronto for some time and later returned to the UAE where she now stays,” said a Mumbai-based fashion designer who knows Sunanda.
After returning to India Sujit dies in a road accident in 1997. However Sujit’s death itself is a mystery. Many claim he committed suicide due to financial debts others claim it was not even a suicide !
In an interview given to Tehelka The Parable Of The Vamp
There’ve been reports that you divorced your first husband Sanjay Raina because you fell in love with his friend Sujit Menon. Also that Sujit committed suicide because he was in financial trouble. Even if all this were true, it still wouldn’t make you a bad person, but the key thing is to establish how much is truth, how much fiction.
The truth is Sujit rescued me. He gave me the strength, as a friend, to quit a very painful marriage. But he was dating another woman; I was just a friend. I got my divorce in 1988 and went off to Dubai in 1989. I married Sujit in 1991; my son Shivy was born in November 1992. If I had left Sanjay over Sujit, why would I have waited that long to marry him?
What about Sujit’s death? That has been turned into something very mysterious as well.
Sujit was a financial consultant and he had run into some financial trouble. I disagreed with many of his business decisions at the time and after his death I got several threatening calls from his creditors.
Sunanda Pushkar was introduced to Tharoor, by the Dubai based Keralite Sunny Varkey.
Sunanda, 48, said she had met Tharoor two years back through a friend Sunny Varkey, and “we got along immediately”.
So, who actually is Sunanda’s friend – Sunny Varkey
Among other things Varkey is the Founder of Varkey GEMS Foundation where Bill Clinton is the Honorary Chairman.
Varkey is also the Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education
As the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education, the Varkey GEMS Foundation enjoys the support of 11,000 education professionals, specialists and staff, along with a community of 130,000 students and families. GEMS Education has commitments totalling $100 million to charitable causes around the world.
The School was founded in 1889 and moved to its present site, a former Bolitho family home, in 1918. It was initially called the Church of England High School for Girls before joining the Woodard Corporation and becomimg the School of St. Clare in 1928. On becoming co-educational in 1995 it was renamed The Bolitho School.
The School is a Charitable Christian Foundation with a Church of England chaplain. It is still afﬁliated to – though independent of – the Woodard Corporation, the largest group of Church of England private schools in the country.
With support from the Varkey GEMS Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative hosts a conference of world leaders each September in New York. Established by President Bill Clinton in 2005, the initiative’s aim is to create and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Among CGI’s diverse membership are heads of state, leading CEOs, Nobel Prize laureates and heads of NGOs.
The Varkey GEMS Foundation has helped to facilitate more than 2,300 commitments through the Clinton Global Initiative to date. Upon funding and implementation, these commitments will have a total value of over $70 billion.
Other Partners of Varkey GEMS Foundation
Sunny Varkey started his career by running his father’s cleaning set up called CHICAGO Maintenance & Construction Company.
As to how the maintenance company turned into the Varkey Empire is unknown.
Sunanda was apparently introduced to Tharoor by Dubai-based educationist Sunny Varkey. “We are surprised to hear he is thinking of marrying her,” claimed a leader from Kerala. “He was warned not to get seriously involved.”
Many Congress ministers say Sunanda is an old hand in the political circuit — she’s the ex-girlfriend of a senior cabinet minister. In fact, ever since her infamy, many Congress ministers have begun claiming to be her ex- boyfriend, but no one is talking about her sweat equity. As a result, an SMS joke is doing the rounds: ‘Sunanda is cabinet property, and therefore a matter of privilege, not impropriety.’
It was Sunny Varkey who made Shashi Tharoor a patron in one of his school, with an instrumental role played by Sunanda in sealing the deal.
This was the beginning of the end of Tharoor as a Minister.
For services rendered Tharoor helped organize a consortium that made a successful $333.33 million bid for the Kochi franchise in the IPL. The IPL commissioner, Lalit Modi, disclosed that one person in the investment group was Sunanda Pushkar, a friend of Tharoor’s and who had been given an equity stake without any investment. Tharoor got involved with Sunanda Pushkar, and was instrumental in granting equity stakes worth more than $15 million to Sunanda.
According to documents in possession of The Sunday Telegraph, Lalit Modi was convicted by a United States court in 1985 after pleading guilty to charges of possessing cocaine, false imprisonment and assault. He was put on five years’ probation.
The Durham County Court accepted Modi’s plea bargaining application and found him guilty of kidnapping and assault. The court sentenced him to two years imprisonment and fined him $10,000.
On Modi’s request, the court placed him on a five-year probation, asking him to undergo 100 hours of community service. The decision on sentencing for possession of drugs was deferred for five years on the condition that a $50,000 cash bond was deposited with the court. This is a normal practice in North Carolina for first-time offenders.
Modi cornered Rajasthan Royals for $67 million, that is presently valuaed at $225 million. He used Emerging Media,and his co-brother Chellaram to bid it. 11.7% Rajasthan Royals is divested for $15.4 million in 2009. Three IPL franchises and digital rights are with Modi.
Lalit Modi is also running a personal business while being in charge of IPL and there is a conflict of interest. Global Cricket Ventures (GCV) is an online media and broadcast company, that was set up only last year by Lalit Modi in the benami name of his son in law Gaurav Burman. This is a Mauritius based company registered to utilise slush funds from India. The $10 million was put in GCV, by Lalit Modi using the name of Mohit Burman, who is the brother of his son in law Gaurav Burman. This got 50% equity of GCV for Lalit Modi using the benami name of Mohit Burman. Within a few months GCV got various cricket related digital rights. So on paper it is Gaurav Burman who is the son-in-law of IPL chairman Lalit Modi, who bagged digital and mobile rights for the IPL and the Champions Trophy until 2017, but in reality it is Lalit Modi who got all the rights through the firm Global Cricket Ventures (GCV). Mohit Burman is also a co-owner of Kings XI Punjab which means Lalit Modi owns that too.
Mohit Burman who is Lalit Modi’s son in law’s brother, is also a director in Elephant Capital Invests an arm used by Lalit Modi to put $10 million in GCV.
Apart from Gaurav and Mohit Burman, another Modi relative associated with the IPL is Suresh Chellaram, a Nigeria-based businessman who holds majority shares in Rajasthan Royals. Chellaram is Lalit Modi’s sister-in-laws husband. So it is big time business for Lalit Modi using three of his relatives as benamis which is typical of these businessmen.
The Other Side
Ravi Gaikwad is a Deputy Regional Transport Officer in Maharastra. His younger brother Shailendra alias Pradeep is CEO of Rendezvous Sports and runs Pushp Cricket Accademy in Sholapur.
Shailendra Gaikwad organised the Rs 1,533-crore ($333.33 million) bid for the Kochi IPL team. The Indian Premier League’s Kochi franchise is Rendezvous Sports World and the share holders of this franchise are:
1. Mehtas, Film Waves Combine has 12%. Gujarati brothers Harshad (60) and Dilip Mehta (55) owns the $1.5 billion Antwerp headquartered diamond company Rosy Blue that employs 10000 people.
2. Mehul Shah, who sold his Anchor electricals for $525m and the present Anchor Earth has 27%.
3. Vivek Venugopal, of Elite Group, Trissur has 1%.
4. Vipul Shah, Parinee Developers has 26%.
5. Anand Shah, of Anand Estates has 8%.
6. Satyajit Gaikwad, Ex Youth Congress president and Ex MP of Rendezvous Sports owns 75.4% of the 25% free equity.
7. Jayant Kotalwar, an investor in the franchise, holds 1.6 per cent of the 25% free equity, valued at about Rs 5.8 crore.
8. Sunanda Pushkar is an 18% shareholder in Rendezvous and so she is entitled to about 18% of the 25 per cent that is about 4.5% of the total of just Rs 70 crore free shares through her holding in Rendezvous Company.
9. A Standard Chartered Bank, wife Sushen Jhingan, whose maiden name is Puja Gulati is also a director of Rendezvous.
Held by Gujarat lobby27%
Anchor Earth: Atul Shah and Mehul Shah26%
Parinee Developers: Vipul Shah and Bhavya Patel12%
Film Waves: Harshad Mehta, co-owner Rosy Blue Diamonds 8%
Anand Shah Estates: Saket Mehta and Mukesh Patel
Since the day the Gaikwads bagged the multicrore franchise for the IPL Kochi team, they were under constant pressure to give up rights over IPL franchise.
Kisan Gaikwad, a retired executive engineer, one of the promoters of the Rendezvous sports club, was the first to receive such message. He was followed by his eldest son Ravi Gaikwad, a deputy regional transport officer, and then the youngest son Shailendra Gaikwad.
“We are receiving threat calls. Shailendra was specifically informed that if he doesn’t give up his claim, they’ll completely damage my career. We are yet to recover from the shock,” Ravi Gaikwad told TOI on Tuesday.
But the Gaikwads didn’t crumble.
Things got murkier when Rendezvous Sports World (RSW) started speaking through its spokesman Satyajit Gaikwad. On Thursday, Gaikwad alleged that Lalit Modi was gunning for Kochi to make them exit IPL and hand over the slot to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The most important aspect of Team Kochi is that almost its entire $333 million has come from Gujarati investors based in Dubai and Mumbai. Two prominent investors in the team are Atul Shah of Anchor Earth, makers of Anchor Switches, and diamond merchant Harshad Mehta, whose family is the largest exporter of diamonds in India and who holds a personal stake in Team Kochi through Film Wave, owned by Rosy Blue. Both families enjoy a celebrity status in the Gujarati community.
Atul Shah’s father Jadhavji Shah and his uncle Damjibhai Anchorwala are living legends in Kutchi society, with every poor Gujarati boy wanting to emulate them.
Similarly, Harshad Mehta’s brother Arun Kumar Mehta’s company has a tight grip over the international diamond business.
According to some reports, Harshad Mehta shifted his base to Dubai due to some serious issues with the revenue department.
Before Satyajit was eased out — and replaced by Rosy Blue’s K Tahilramani, with Harshad Mehta becoming chairman of the franchise in place of Shailendra Gaikwad — rediff.com’s Sheela Bhatt spoke to him.
What was Narendra Modi’s role?
When our consortium members decided to invest, they officially met Narendra Modi. They asked him whether they can bid for the Gujarat team or not. Narendra Modi said no. He said Adani is bidding for Gujarat. So we went to Kerala. We also met Sharad Pawar. There is no party politics in the IPL bid. Pawar said we should stick to Kerala.
He didn’t play any role. We had our doubts about him because we were getting messages from all directions to leave Kerala and go to Gujarat.
Who told you for the first time to give up the Kochi team?
Lalit Modi. He said, ‘Leave the bid. I’ll give you $50 million (about Rs 220 crore). Let it go to Gujarat.’ Since pressure was coming on us we suspected that Narendra Modi was behind it.
Narendra Modi Under Attack From IPL Kochi Franchisee
The IPL Kochi controversy deepened on Thursday amid allegations that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and IPL Commisioner Lalit Modi had come together to get a new team for Ahmedabad.
Bringing Narendra Modi in the line of fire, Kochi franchise spokesman Satyajit Gaikwad said everyone knew about his “nexus” with Lalit Modi and the concerted effort by them to deprive Kochi of IPL team and get a slot for Gujarat.
Sticking to his charges, Gaikwad said, “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.
Mukesh Patel of Sriram Industries, Harshad Mehta of Rosy Blue Diamond and a representative of Anchor Group, all promoters of the Kochi IPL, had met Narendra Modi. The Gujarat CM is believed to have told them that GCA will support them if they want to play matches in Ahmedabad.
Will Kochi head to Ahmedabad?
With the Gujarat lobby holding 73 per cent stake in the IPL Kochi franchise, a shift to the state could be on the cards.
Minutes after Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor handed over his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday night, the buzz surrounding the IPL’s Kochi franchise heading to Ahmedabad gained solid ground.
The major investors Rosy Blue Diamond, Anchor Earth and Shriram Shipping Vessels holding a total stake of 73 percent are from Gujarat. And to add to that, the sole Keralite investor in the consortium, Vivek Venugopal, from the family of Elite Group and Medimix, holds only one per cent stake in the franchise.
Sunday was a day full of drama. Firstly, with Sunanda Pushkar giving up her stake in the Kochi franchise, and later in the evening Shashi Tharoor submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister. (both on the very same day)
Before moving any further it is very important to understand who these Diamond Dealers backing the Ahmedabad IPL Franchise really are.
Diamond King Dilip Mehta is a ‘baron’ in Belgium
Belgium has awarded its highest civilian honour to Antwerp-based Indian-origin diamantaire Dilip Mehta, CEO, Rosy Blue, the world’s largest diamond company. Mr Mehta has been chosen for the prestigious title of ‘baron’ in Belgium’s annual honours list.
The selection was made by the Belgian foreign ministry and the Belgian Royal Palace. The announcement comes ahead of Belgium’s national day on July 21. Mr Mehta said, “This a great honour for Antwerp’s Indian diamond community. I feel lucky to have been spotted in this nice contribution of India.
IPL Kochi owners figure in German black money list
The list of alleged tax evaders, who have stashed away billions of rupees in off shore accounts, comprises the owners of Kochi IPL franchisee — Dilip, Arun and Harshad Ramnik Lal Mehta — who are among the biggest diamond merchants in the world.
A Headlines Today investigation has revealed that the Mehtas, who own 12 per cent stake in Kochi IPL, have secret accounts in LGT Bank of Leichenstein. They allegedly siphoned funds through fronts which have money trails linked to tax havens in Luxembourg and Guernsey.
Diamond firm Rosy Blue, in which the Mehtas hold shares, was used to park funds abroad. Shell companies controlled by secretive trusts in Guernsey were also used to siphon off funds. Pine Trust and Beech Settlement used Deutsche Bank as trustees to illegally park money.
Headlines Today has uncovered LGT Bank documents which reveal that $1.5 lakh was transferred from Panamanian accounts to Gembel’s Prabodh Mehta. Gembel is amongst the oldest and most trusted names in global diamond trade.
The Enforcement Directorate and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) confirmed to Headlines Today that three trusts held by the Mehtas were under scanner for money laundering and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations.
Nearly Euros 4.4 million used for estate planning was transferred to Leichenstein and the $1.2 billion dollar Rosy Blue headquarters in Antwerp paid no tax in 2009.
Gujarati diamond barons figure in Tehelkalist
The allegations have come as a bombshell in the diamond industry. The list was the talking point of stunned members of diamond fraternities in Mumbai and Surat in the last 24 hours.
Some of the biggest names in the global diamond industry dominate the list published by the Tehelka magazine of people having secret accounts in the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein.
Some of the diamond barons named in the list are Gujaratis having roots in Palanpur.
Also on the list (which gives names of people who have allegedly stashed away ill-gotten money in the foreign bank) are brothers Arun Mehta and Dilip Mehta. Arun Mehta is co-founder of Rosy Blue, the world’s largest diamond manufacturing company, while Dilip Mehta is the CEO of the Group.
Arun Mehta is an Indian citizen and lives in Mumbai. Dilip Mehta had given up Indian citizenship and operates out of Antwerp, Belgium. They have offices and businesses all over the world. Arun Mehta could not be reached despite several attempts to contact him on his phone.
Biggest fraud scandal in Belgium involving Indian diamond traders
In 2009, the judicial authorities got access to a list of accounts on a Swiss bank, this included owners of diamond companies in Antwerp. These bosses had 700 million euro on these accounts, while none of this money was officially registered. It is very probable that it all concerns money from the black market. Amongst the bosses involved in this scandal there is a large number of Indian entrepreneurs.
$2 billion ‘theft’ of Zimbabwe’s diamonds
In February last year, Tendai Biti, the finance minister, disclosed that $300 million collected by the Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the Mineral Marketing Commission had not been handed over to the state. Meanwhile, a stockpile of 2.5 million carats, conservatively valued at $200 million, simply went missing.
The study concludes that most illicit revenue is raised through a “sophisticated price manipulation scheme” whereby diamonds are sold for knock-down prices within the legal monitoring system in Harare, then resold in trade centres like Dubai and India for twice the original price, with both the sellers and their Zimbabwean allies taking a cut. In all, some $2 billion has been lost to the state since 2008.
Zimbabwe Government Stealing Diamond Funds with Indian Allies
Records show that 10 million carats of Marange diamonds were exported to Dubai in late 2012 for $600 million, which the report said is an artificially low price because the same stones were sold for double their original price when they left Dubai for Surat, India — the world’s biggest diamond cutting center. It says the gems should have been valued at $1.2 billion.
The low valuation lost the Zimbabwe nation considerable money and “underscores a price manipulation scheme perpetrated by Indian buyers and their Zimbabwe allies, with whom they are believed to share the spoils,” the report said.
Surat diamond traders arrested in China again for illegally smuggling diamonds into China via HongKong
Ahead of Diwali, 19 persons belonging to Indian diamond industry are arrested in China for smuggling of Rs. 250 crore diamonds. 3 of them are from family of Surat based diamond companies.
Diamond merchants find a mascot in Modi, desert Deora
The traders were once close to Murli Deora.
Mumbai’s diamond traders have deserted former Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora. Their act to felicitate BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on 30 September indicates that the community has left their once patron in isolation.
When the diamond merchants were chanting the slogan “Modi, Modi” at a function to inaugurate the Diamond Hall at Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) at Bandra Kurla Complex, the ailing Deora was sitting alone in his Churchgate residence. The merchants weighted 92 kg of silver worth Rs 45 lakh against Modi. It was a rare gesture reserved only for saints and gurus of the community. When Modi expressed his inability to carry the silver with him, the traders handed him a cheque of Rs 51 lakh as their contribution for Modi’s dream project, the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
In the light of these facts the below news report should make much more sense
To understand the relationship of this Israeli Diamond Lobby behind Narendra Modi refer this previous article
In response to Narendra Modi’s comment labeling Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda a ‘Rs 50 crore girlfriend, this is what Sunanda Pushkar had to say in her first ever interview.
There is a long list of victims claimed by the Diamond Mafia and if not checked in time it is likely to rise dramatically in time. Unfortunately it is not just these random assassinations that we need to deal with; one of the major terrorist act in Indian history reveals the Diamond Mafia’s hidden hand at close examination.
“ZAKHM GARDAB GAYA, LAHU NA THAMA”
(“Though the wound is hidden, the blood does not cease to flow”)
– Asadullah Khan Ghalib, 1860s – words of the Urdu poet Ghalib, who saw his city of Delhi lain waste in 1857 by the East India Company. (COURTESY: http://greatgameindia.wordpress.com/