The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Zee courts board

Calcutta, Feb. 20: Zee is ready to play ball with the new team at BCCI but the board says a case filed by the channel has tied its hands.

Zee Telefilms, locked in a legal tussle with the board over cricket telecast rights, has sent two letters to BCCI in as many weeks indicating its eagerness to resolve the row.

On February 1, in a letter addressed to the new BCCI chief Ranbir Singh Mahendra, Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra wrote: 'Now that a new team has taken over, we were wanting to explore the possibility of a reasonable resolution.'

Slamming former president Jagmohan Dalmiya, Chandra said in the letter: 'We have grave apprehensions as to the conduct of the past president of the BCCI which are the subject matter of our petition in court.'

Mahendra confirmed that Chandra has sought a meeting. 'But, at this point, we are involved in a court case with Zee. At this point, I have nothing more to say,' he told The Telegraph.

A case filed by Zee is now being heard in Chennai. The resultant uncertainty over telecast rights is one of the reasons that prompted the postponement of the Pakistan tour by a few days.

But Zee said in the letter that it was willing to put this 'unpleasantness' behind. The Zee chief sought an appointment with Mahendra 'to make an earnest attempt to take matters forward'.

Receiving no reply, the channel sent another letter on February 15, this time not signed by Chandra, but by his executive assistant, Himanshu Mody.

The letter said Zee was hopeful of meeting Mahendra after the Haryana Assembly election ' the board president is a candidate.

It added that Zee had heard from 'reliable sources' that Dalmiya called ESPN and Prasar Bharti 'for a meeting for awarding telecast rights to them through negotiations' on or around February 4. 'Hence we had no choice but to file a writ.'

The letter also referred to the Rs 150-crore loss BCCI incurred because of the telecast imbroglio.

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