The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cricket in telecast storm again

Calcutta, March 2: The cricket board is back at the centre of a telecast controversy on the eve of the Pakistan series.

A day after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) gave the production rights for the Pakistan series to Trans-World International (TWI), rival Nimbus Sport has alleged that the awarding process had been finalised even before the board's working committee met.

'We have incontrovertible proof that the deal was struck before the working committee had its emergent meeting,' said Harish Thawani, the chairman of Nimbus Sport.

'We also have proof that TWI's Andrew Wildblood stayed in Calcutta last week and met BCCI officials, while a TWI lawyer flew in from London to seal the deal,' he added.

Wildblood, a senior vice-president and director of TWI based in London, could not be contacted for comment.

Nimbus said it is waiting for a BCCI response before considering legal options.

Nimbus had sent a letter to the board yesterday, expressing surprise that the production contract was not awarded to it, despite presenting the lowest offer. 'We learn that one member of the BCCI sought to create the impression that our offer is $1.5 million. We do not know how such an impression came about as our letter of 28 February 2005 is very clear that our offer is $1.29 million,' the letter reads.

The BCCI denied the allegations made by Thawani. 'They are the affected party and they can say anything they want,' BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra told The Telegraph.

'These are baseless allegations and it was through a unanimous decision that the rights were awarded to TWI,' he added.

However, I.S. Bindra, the former BCCI president and current president of the Punjab Cricket Association, alleged that the decision was far from 'unanimous'.

In a letter to the BCCI chief, Bindra said there were three other offers, including the lowest one from Nimbus, and the committee had authorised the BCCI chief to take a decision.

Responding to Bindra's charges, Mahendra said: 'No one raised any objection or any of these issues at the meeting ' neither Bindra nor any other member.'

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