A day after Sunil Gavaskar cried foul over non-payment of his IPL dues, Lalit Modi has come out in support of the former Indian captain and said people like Sunny "should be rewarded and not crucified".
Speaking via Twitter, the former IPL Chairman said: "A lot is being said in the news about Sunny. I just want to clarify - Yes Sunny was promised the 4 Crores a Year by BCCI for IPL."
"Yes it's due to him for the years he served on the IPL Governing Council. We used his name and credibility when setting up the IPL," he tweeted.
Modi also emphasized on how crucial it was for the IPL to have Gavaskar on board. "Sunny was critical at the time we were setting IPL - as no one believed in the Product then. So to have (him) on Board was Critical to the IPL."
"Keep in mind when we launched IPL - ICL was headed by Kapil Dev - and we needed all the more reason to have Sunny on our side. Because of Kapil's Stature ICL was snapping all the Players. So it was Important to counter that by bringing in Sunny. ICL was on a roll," Modi wrote on Twitter.
"ICL made the task more difficult so we had to launch a better and more superior offering to players and fans alike. Credibility was key then," he added.
Modi also said that it was the then-BCCI President Sharad Pawar who helped in having Gavaskar on board. "Getting Sunny on Board was done with the Help of Mr Pawar-the then President of Bcci. He had negotiated the amount and I as Chairman agreed," he tweeted.
"IPL since has made history and will earn BCCI billions of Dollars in the coming Year. People like sunny should be rewarded not crucified," he said.
On Tuesday, Gavaskar lashed out at the BCCI for unanimously turning down his demand of a USD 1 million fee per season for media activities involving Indian Premier League.
Speaking to NDTV, Gavaskar said that his faith in BCCI has been shaken after their decision to turn his demand down. "I am baffled after reading reports that BCCI has refused to pay me my dues and my faith in BCCI has been shaken," he said.
Gavaskar had earlier claimed that he had been assured by former BCCI president Sharad Pawar that the dues to him would be cleared. On Tuesday, a day after being turned down, he said that the decision had left him baffled. "Sharad Pawar promised me on phone that my dues will be cleared. In fact, Sharad Pawar and Lalit Modi had promised me 4 crore IPL contract in 2007," he said.
The decision to turn Gavaskar's request down had been taken in the last Annual General Meeting of the board but came up for discussion again on Monday after the legendary opening batsman wrote to BCCI. "The President told us that he didn't want any controversy and placed the matter on the table. Everyone was of the opinion that this demand is unacceptable," a BCCI official had said on condition of anonymity, the day the request was rejected.