IN A RATHER SURPRISING turn of events, Kerala Blasters are suing Ranjit Bajaj, owner of Minerva Punjab FC, for defamation.
Bajaj, who has been outspoken about allegations that the AIFF and their commercial partners FSDL are planning to kill the I-League and forcefully relegating its clubs to a lower division, made some comments that claimed Kerala Blasters have several months of player payments due.
In response, KBFC management has sued him for Rs 60 crore claiming his comments were defamatory.
Ranjit Bajaj himself revealed the news on Twitter, hinting it was "retribution" being perpetrated against him for being a central figure in the I-League clubs' battle against AIFF and their commercial partners Reliance to avoid forceful relegation.
The retribution starts - @KeralaBlasters sues me & @IndiaToday & @ians_india for civil & criminal defamation for 60 crores / RT if you believe that it’s not Kerala blasters but FSDL RELIANCE behind this in an attempt to silence me & teach me a lesson for standing up to them &AIFF
Really expected better from @KeralaBlasters reading the legal notice sent by them is like reading an April fool’s prank by a child, utterly ridiculous!! Should put it up soon so all can have a good laugh too!
Bajaj's club Minerva Punjab FC pulled out of their match in the Super Cup qualifiers earlier this month as part of a protest demanding that AIFF President Praful Patel should meet the I-League clubs and hear their perspective on the restructuring of league football in India; including their proposed alternative roadmap.
It took concerted boycotts from Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala FC for AIFF to agree to that meeting.
The AIFF President is scheduled to meet the rebel clubs on the 14th of April. But before that, the AIFF Disciplinary Committee will meet on the 12th, and may dish out punishments to the six top division clubs who boycotted the Super Cup.
Given the circumstances, a personal lawsuit against Ranjit Bajaj from an ISL franchise certainly adds further heat to this already confrontational situation.