Sports Minister Maken in favour of probe into charges of black money in IPL
New Delhi, May 21 (ANI): Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Secretary, Minister of Sports, had written a letter last week to the Revenue Secretary seeking an inquiry to be conducted on the circulation of black money in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Maken said the probe should be done expeditiously by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department.
Maken also revealed that 19 notices have been issued to the IPL and BCCI for FEMA violations to the tune of Rs 1,077 crore.
He also said that a joint secretary of the Sports Ministry had written a letter to the ED on May 17 seeking an expeditious probe in the matter.
Maken was responding to an issue raised by former cricketer Kirti Azad of BJP, who made a strong pitch for a special audit by independent people into the conduct of the BCCI and other concerned sports organisations which were registered.
Maken also made a strong pitch for bringing the BCCI under Right to Information Act, saying the Central Information Commission was hearing the issue.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, was present when the issue was raised and Azad, a former cricketer who sat on hunger strike yesterday, got support from the BJP benches as also JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and some Left members.
Azad, who has been vocal on the matter and has been raising the issue of black money in IPL, did not appear to be satisfied by Maken's announcement as he said that until and unless a special audit is conducted, it would not yield any results.
Seeking to dismiss charges by Azad that the government treats the BCCI with kid-gloves due to backing of influential people, Maken said the government has acted expeditiously against the BCCI in the past and has ensured that it no longer enjoyed tax exemptions as a charitable body.
He said the Income Tax Department had ensured the BCCI to pay income tax dues of Rs 365.24 crore from 1996-97 to 2006-07.
The income tax realised in 2007-08 was Rs 118 crore, while the tax liability of 2008-09 was Rs 257.12 crore, of which Rs 131 crore have been realised. For rest of the amount, the BCCI has gone to the tax tribunal.
The IPL tournament has come under cloud with five Indian cricket players being suspended last week pending an inquiry, as the BCCI cracked the whip in the wake of a TV sting operation which claimed to expose corruption in IPL.
Maken, who has been at the loggerheads with the BCCI over its refusal to come under the RTI, has been insisting that the cricket board could not be trusted to carry out a probe on its own into the spot-fixing allegations made in the TV sting.
The Sports Minister said BCCI qualifies for being brought under RTI in view of the fact that its single-most important function was to select the Indian team.
He said the BCCI and other cricket associations have got a large amount of land almost free from state governments and other institutions.
Azad alleged that the way the IPL was creating controversy after controversy, India's image was being lowered. He said the latest was that some IPL players have been caught in a rave party.
He said it was necessary to find out the source of money laundering through tax havens in the IPL and this could be done through special audits by independent people. He also took exception to BCCI's refusal to come under the RTI.
Describing the Finance Minister as a father figure for him as he had worked with his late father Bhagwat Jha Azad, the former cricketer wanted the government to act tough against wrong-doings of the IPL and the BCCI. (ANI)
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