Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has often played the role of a crisis manager to sort out differences between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, of which he is a prominent leader. The minister is now playing a similar role on the personal front, trying to defend himself amid reports of his alleged involvement in the controversial deals surrounding the Indian Premier League. In an interview with Sanjay Jog, Patel says he has no personal financial interest in the T-20 cricket extravaganza and suggests there is no place for a media trial without proof.
Are you in any way involved with IPL?
I have already clarified that I have nothing to do with IPL. If I wanted to bid for a team, I would have done it openly and not by resorting to any other route. I am once again making it clear that there is no personal interest.
But, the entire controversy began following your meeting with the investors of Rendezvous Sports World which owns the Kochi franchisee?
I wished them well. There was nothing beyond that. I have been unnecessarily dragged into a controversy.
What about allegations of your personal assistant forwarding certain important financial information to former minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor?
The email sent by my office to Tharoor did not contain classified information. This cannot be compared to sharing insider information.
It is said that the same documents were also sent to your daughter, Poorna, who works with IPL as a hospitality manager...
My daughter has no interest in such matters.
Senior leaders of NCP, like Sharad Pawar and you, are now at the centre of the IPL controversy. What is the exact problem?
I have already clarified I have nothing to do with IPL. Similarly, NCP and Mr Pawar are not at all involved in this controversy. In fact, Mr Pawar is like a father figure to Indian cricket and a mentor. He has no role in BCCI or IPL in the present set up. I strongly feel that there should not be a trial by the media. Let the truth and facts come out.