Stadium woes in Pune

Jan 09, 2013, 01:10 IST | Shreeram Prasad

The name of Maharashtra Cricket Association's (MCA) new cricket stadium � the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium � has been covered with black cloth (although not removed) at the Gahunje stadium, but that's not because of a change in policy by BCCI.

It is, according to MCA sources, due to non-payment of the dues from the Sahara group. Disappointed at the MCA’s act, the Sahara Group moved Bombay High Court, filing a petition against MCA.

The Sahara Stadium in Pune. PIC/Krunal Gosavi

Just few months before the completion of the stadium, MCA sold the naming rights of the stadium to Subrata Roy’s Sahara Group for a whopping R 219 crore. Now, it has been reliably learnt that after paying a sum which is a little under Rs 100 crores, Sahara has failed to pay the dues, resulting in MCA covering the name of Subrata Roy. “We can not disclose anything in this regard right now,” is how MCA president Ajay Shirke chose to react when asked about covering of the name.

Name covered
However, sources in the MCA’s stadium committee confirmed that the tussle over non-payment of dues has been going on for quite some time now. MCA had served a notice to Sahara Group regarding non-payment of dues, and, in response, Sahara Group had promised to settle the dues in the near future. However, as the events progressed, and the promises were not kept, MCA has gone a step ahead and covered the name of Subrata Roy at the stadium.

Sahara bosses, on their part opted not to make any comments on the issue. Repeated efforts to contact Sahara’s corporate communications head Abhijeet Sarkar turned out to be futile. However, Sahara sources claimed that MCA has not followed certain conditions that were set at the time of contract, and Sahara Group, therefore is not liable for the payment of the dues.

“Inspite of MCA not complying with the vital conditions precedents and not co-operating with Sahara for timely execution of the definitive documents, Sahara paid almost R 73 crore only as an advance, in good faith, for completion of the Stadium for IPL-V” the source said. “We have so far paid MCA a sum close to R 98 crore till date, even though the definitive documents were yet to be executed between the parties,” the source added.

It’s also important to note, that the MCA’s stadium is yet to be complete. Phase One was completed ahead of the IPL-2012 season. But Phase Two work, which includes adding a few more seats in the stands, and building a training facility, are still in the pipeline, and would obviously need a lot of money.  

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