SIS Live communications reject allegations of irregularities

Last Updated 23 October 2010, 09:09 IST

In order to deliver the highest quality broadcast services required for the CWG, SIS Live sub-contracted numerous organisations from around the world, the broadcasting house said in reply to a written questionnaire by PTI.

"This is entirely normal practise for a project of this magnitude and complexity and the use of subcontractors was expressly contemplated in the contract," it said.
The company further said that it has paid all service taxes due in accordance with the regulations; the last payment being made in October and the next payment is due in January 2011.

"SIS LIVE has kept proper accounts and copies of bills. These are administered by our central service centre in the UK, and operated online from India. Since the I-T Department visit to our project office in Delhi on October five, we have provided all the documents requested – over 2,500 – within the agreed timescale," it added.

The company refuted that any of its offices were "raided" or any of its bank accounts "frozen". "Currently, much more than 20 per cent of the contract value is outstanding, as was expected at this stage under the contract terms," it said.

The reply sent from the broadcasting company's office in Langley said, SIS LIVE unequivocally refutes the "outrageous" allegations that have recently been aired in the Indian media.

"We are very proud of the coverage which we have produced and have been delighted by the feedback received from broadcasters around the world."To now see these unqualified accusations in the Indian media is deeply upsetting, particularly for all the staff who worked so hard to cover the event. All are completely groundless and some, frankly, outrageous," the reply said.

"SIS LIVE was part of the team which worked tirelessly during the run up to the Games, under incredibly difficult conditions and circumstances, to ensure all the venues were broadcast-ready in time," David Meynell, SIS LIVE Managing Director said.

"Any suggestion that SIS LIVE has earned excessive profits and or paid any sub-contractors anything less than market rates is entirely erroneous.

"Indeed, the enormous challenges presented and overcome by SIS LIVE in delivering world class coverage of the XIX CWG in Delhi 2010 have contributed to ensuring that any profit made from this event is extremely modest," he said. The company said that SIS LIVE is the Outside Broadcast and Satellite Facilities division of Satellite Information Services Limited (SIS), which bid for and won the tender to provide production and broadcast facilities for coverage of the CWG.

Following the award of the CWG contract in October 2009, SIS and its subsidiary SIS Outside Broadcasts Limited formed a partnership under the name of SIS LIVE in January 2010 as special purpose vehicle to deliver the CWG contract.

The company was established in 1986 and is a recognised UK broadcaster.
SIS Outside Broadcasts Limited acquired the BBC's outside broadcast business in 2008, inheriting the BBC's 70 year legacy of Outside Broadcast work, and has provided broadcast service for major sporting events across the world including CWG 2002 in Manchester, Wimbledon Tennis and Formula one motorsport.

The IT department has invoked provisions of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and the UK to go after a British broadcast firm whose Indian arm came into existence "solely" for the purpose of executing a Commonwealth Games contract.
Survey operations on the Indian arm of London-based broadcast company SIS Live were conducted by the Income Tax department whose Assessing Officers found alleged discrepancies in the financial documents of the firm. It was allegedly trying to evade taxes to the tune of Rs 29 crore.

The IT department subsequently asked the Prasar Bharti, which had made Doordarshan enter into a contract with company for broadcast rights of the games, to cut taxes from the company's receipts under the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) category.

The I-T department in its order to Prasar Bharti, said that the broadcast firm had "come into existence solely with the purpose of carrying out and undertaking all activities and actions necessary or desirable to implement the CWG contract".

(Published 23 October 2010, 09:09 IST)

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