Mumbai, Like his colleagues Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty, Sanjay Dutt also wants his share of the Indian Premier League (IPL) pie. But the actor was not sure whether he would be allowed to bid for team ownership because of his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.
“There’re two new teams in Ahmedabad and Nagpur coming up in December. Sanjay might buy either,” a source close to him told IANS.
But the actor-politician, who has been convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, had a fruitful meeting with Lalit Modi, IPL chairman and commissioner.
“Sanjay’s main concern was, would he be able to buy the team because of his court cases? There are many things that he can’t do, like endorsements etc. Sanjay was assured there would be no problem. With the removal of TADA charges, Dutt now has rights equal to every other Indian citizen.
“Having got that apprehension out of the way Dutt questioned Lalit Modi about the nitty-gritty of the IPL team,” the source said.
When Sanjay met Modi, who is also the vice president of Board of Control for Cricket in India, to buy a new team for himself, he wasn’t aware that the media would be informed and waiting for him at the hotel in suburban Mumbai.
“The idea is to let it be known that big stars are getting progressively involved with the IPL. That attracts more money, eyeballs and junta interest. So on Wednesday evening when Dutt reached the Hyatt, he was taken aback to see media persons swarming the place. His first impulse was to flee,” said the source.
Shah Rukh and Juhi Chawla are the co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, Shilpa and her beau Raj Kundra own Rajasthan Royals, while Preity Zinta along with her former boyfriend Ness Wadia own Kings X1 Punjab.
Another Bollywood star Salman Khan is also showing interest in buying an IPL team.
There are efforts now to optimise celebrity participation and generation of money through star presence in the IPL.
According to sources, Shah Rukh will be charging neat packets from the public for attending matches and post-match events like dinners where the closer the audience sits to the star, the more it will cost.
Preity has recently taken on a television show where she’ll be seen interacting with all her IPL cricketers. She had made a neat packet from the deal with STAR Plus.
“So you see the stars are working towards building a bigger bucks bank for the IPL,” said the source.