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The Rs. 45 crore tax exemption given to the ICC on the revenue generated from this year’s cricket World Cup here was “unjustified and devoid of merit”, the Standing Committee on Finance has concluded in an inquiry. The World Cup was jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh this year but a lion’s share of the games were held here.

The inquiry report was quoted by Sports Minister Ajay Maken in a written reply to queries in the Parliament into the allegations of financial irregularities in the BCCI and its cash-awash Twenty20 event IPL.

“Regarding tax exemption of about Rs. 45 crore granted to International Cricket Council (ICC) on the revenue generated from the recently concluded World Cup Cricket Tournament, the Committee are not convinced about the tenability of the tax exemptions given to the ICC, as the World Cup received huge sponsorships and was patronised by the corporate sector in a big way,” the committee said in its report.

“Therefore, the Committee are of the considered view that the tax exemption granted to ICC using discretionary powers under the provisions of general exemption for international sporting events was unjustified and devoid of merit. The committee recommends that the tax exemption granted to ICC be reviewed by the Department of Revenue,” it added.

The committee has also concluded that Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) should not just investigate “on a fast track basis this particular case but also devise a coherent and consistent policy for the future, whereby high profile money-spinning events such as the IPL are not kept out of the ambit of taxability.”

The committee said that the Income Tax Department has been unduly lenient in dealing with the BCCI.

“The Committee is constrained to conclude that the Income Tax Department has been very lenient on BCCI allowing them to enrich their coffers at the expense of the exchequer,” it said.

“The Committee would therefore like this matter to be thoroughly probed and an action taken report furnished to the Committee within one month of the presentation of this report,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Enforcement has said that based on the investigations conducted so far they have “issued 19 Show Cause Notices for various FEMA contraventions involving amounts aggregating to Rs. 1077.43 crore approximately.”

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April 2024