Widened IPL probe takes tax officials to Sahara offices (Roundup)April 22nd, 2010 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) Amid search operations at the Sahara group offices in Lucknow Thursday, tax officials probing the financial dealings of the Kolkata franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) claimed “incriminating evidence” of irregularities.
Sleuths of the tax administration also questioned once again IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi over alleged irregularities in awarding the broadcasting rights and media rights for the cricketing extravaganza, officials said.
The search at premises of the Sahara group, the franchise for Pune that has its main office in Lucknow, came a day after similar operations across eight cities, covering the IPL, most of its franchises and three event-management and broadcast firms.
Led by industrialist Subroto Roy, the Sahara group — also the official sponsor of the Indian cricket team - had won the franchise for Pune at the latest auction for $370 million.
“While we purchased the franchisee for the Pune team for Rs.1,702 crore, our operations will actually begin only with IPL Season-IV in 2011,” Sahara group spokesperson Abhijit Sarkar told reporters in the Uttar Pradesh capital.
“It is wrong to describe the operation as a raid — this is a survey.”
In Kolkata, the probe by the sleuths of the Directorate of Income Tax Investigation was on the legality of money transfers from tax havens like Mauritius to buy the franchise and the players through auctions.
“We’ve found incriminating evidence,” Indian Revenue Service Deputy Director Akhilendu Jadhav said in Kolkata, after the search operations at the offices of the Bengal Cricket Association and Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders.
“We needed to have a look at certain transactions and we have found whatever we were looking for,” Jadhav told reporters in the West Bengal capital in the early hours of Friday.
In Mumbai, meanwhile, Modi was questioned for the second time in two days over various issues, including the process involved in awarding the television broadcasting rights and the media contracts to parties.
The 45-minute enquiry was done a day after a team of 50 officials swooped on the offices of Multi Screen Media, World Sports Group and Pat Magnarella Management in Bandra, Khar and Malad suburbs of northwest Mumbai.
Earlier called Sony Entertainment TV, Multi Screen Media has the telecast rights for the IPL T20 cricketing extravaganza for 10 years from 2008 while World Sports Group acquired the global media rights for 10 years for over $1.5 billion.
Pat Magnarella Management is a full-service management, branding and marketing services company, which in the past specialised in the music business and later made a foray into sports as well, officials said.
At the broader level, the probes follow the selective leak by Modi of the names of the Kochi franchise’s owners, resulting in the resignation of Shashi Tharoor as minister of state for external affairs as his friend was given sweat equity in it.
The 10 franchises under scrutiny are Kochi’s Rendezvous Sports, Pune’s Sahara group, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
Thursday also saw the president of the country’s apex cricket board categorically stating that the meeting of the IPL’s governing council will go ahead April 26 as scheduled in spite of questions raised by Modi.
“Under the board constitution, the secretary is the convenor of all meetings. Even today I don’t convene a meeting, being the board president,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar said at the headquarters of the board here.
The meeting was convened by BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan in the wake of charges of financial irregularities by IPL and its franchises and a breach of confidentiality by Modi’s selective leaks.
The IPL commissioner then had questioned the legality of the scheduled meeting Wednesday and said only he had the powers to convene it. His camp said there was conflict of interest as Srinivasan-led India Cements owned the Chennai franchise.
(With inputs from our bureaus at Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Chennai)
- Now IPL's event management firms, broadcaster under scanner (Lead) - Apr 21, 2010
- Pataudi restores sanity as tax probe widens net to include Sahara (Intro Roundup) - Apr 22, 2010
- IPL associates under probe, tax raids in multiple cities (Lead) - Apr 21, 2010
- BCCI answerable to the nation on IPL: Gill (Second Intro Roundup) - Apr 22, 2010
- IPL probe widened, search operations across India (Roundup) - Apr 21, 2010
- Tax officials claim 'evidence' against Kolkata Knight Riders - Apr 22, 2010
- Modi committed major irregularities: Abdullah - Jun 25, 2010
- Modi slams BCCI president for Sahara's walkout - Feb 04, 2012
- Decision Monday on Sahara-BCCI dispute - Feb 12, 2012
- BCCI gives in, Sahara India back as Team India sponsor (Lead) - Feb 16, 2012
- BCCI to discuss Lalit Modi's fate - Jul 03, 2010
- No one ready to pay full sponsorship of Team India: Sahara - Feb 13, 2012
- Cannot make exceptions for Sahara in IPL: BCCI president (Lead) - Feb 13, 2012
- Sahara hits back after BCCI rejcts its demands (Roundup) - Feb 13, 2012
- IPL asks Pune Warriors to get others' nod on foreign players - Feb 22, 2012
Tags: abhijit sarkar, cricket association, financial dealings, group offices, income tax investigation, incriminating evidence, indian cricket team, industrialist, jadhav, knight riders, money transfers, sahara group, search operations, shah rukh khan, subroto roy, tax administration, tax havens, tax officials, uttar pradesh capital, west bengal