The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has sought details of the financial dealings of the Indian Premier League from the UPA government. It has also questioned finance ministry and corporate affairs ministry officials on why no enquiry was conducted during the first two years of the the T20 extravaganza.
Sources in Parliament told Business Standard that revenue secretary Sunil Mitra and top officers of the central board of direct taxes (CBDT) will be summoned before the committee on July 7 to answer a host of questions. The committee has already quizzed revenue department officials and corporate affairs secretary Ramsevak Bandyopadhyay.
In its last meeting on June 15, the committee sought details of various financial dealings including the “actual ownership” status of the teams. The government officers were asked whether the prominent faces who are projected and perceived as the owners of the IPL teams are actually financed by different people.
Citing the example of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, known as the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, they said it was found out later that she did not hold any share of the company that owns the team.
In that meeting, the revenue secretary was asked whther the government was convinced that criminals like Dawood Ibrahim were not investing in the IPL under fictitious names and pumping in money through Mauritius-based companies.
According to sources, government officials faced difficulties explaining why no probe was done during the first two seasons of the IPL. Several opposition parties had demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the IPL after media flashed reports on various irregularities in the popular cricket tournament.
The UPA government rejected the demand with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee maintaining that there was no need for a JPC as government agencies were conducting a probe into the issue. But now that the standing committee has taken up the issue, political parties jumped in to give their recommendations to the government.
The committee has also questioned tax waivers given to the BCCI. Their logic: the IPL is a full-fledged commercial venture so the BCCI should not be given any tax benefits.
The committee, headed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, had already asked all directors general of income tax (investigation) for a status report on their inquiry into the IPL.