'Preity and I have spoken': Shilpa Shetty

By Hindustan Times

MUMBAI, Oct. 23 -- I am not against the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control In India) but it's not fair to terminate two teams from the Indian Premier League by simply stating that they have defaulted on the ownership structure just ahead of Season 4," says Shilpa Shetty who is the 'face' of Rajasthan Royals that was recently dropped from the IPL rooster.

King's XI Punjab, co-owned by actor Preity Zinta, is the other team that has been axed. "Preity and I have been talking, we're on the same page on this and willing to co-operate with the Enforcement Directorate on the on-going probe. It's in the best interests of the game, nationally and internationally," sserts Shetty, who is distressed with the way her team has been treated, pointing to the lack of transparency.

"If you default in business, you can cough up compensation, but expulsion without a fair trial is unacceptable. As individuals involved in multiple businesses, we're not interested in unfair trade practices," she insists, explaining that the ownership pattern changed only after her husband, businessman Raj Kundra bought into the team in Season Two. "We had BCCI support then and Raj paid the amount stipulated. If they had issues, they could have raised it then. Why are they blowing it up now?"

Shetty supports her team's ex-captain Shane Warne's stance on the incident that he's put up on his blog. He says, "All of us put in our faith in the BCCI and the IPL Governing Council. We still have faith, especially in the BCCI, because it does a lot of work to keep the game breathing in the country."

Would they drop co-owners Suresh and Aditya Chellaram to appease the BCCI? "No way!" Shetty retorts. "It's rude to even think that. They were there long before us." On the subject of once-good-friend Lalit Modi, Shetty says, "He has nothing to do with our team. I don't know anything of his current state of affairs." What about the Football Premier League that she was expected to start in India with her husband? "I am not even thinking about that or movies now," she says. "I'm pre-occupied with settling the internal matters of my team."

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