BCCI zeroing in on Modi

Centre launches multi-agency investigation into IPL dealings

BCCI zeroing in on Modi

As the issue of IPL tax evasions and irregularities figured in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the House: “I can assure you that all aspects of IPL will be probed, including the sources of funding, how these funds were routed and invested. No guilty or wrong-doer will be spared”.

Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also hinted at independent investigations by regulators attached with his ministry, but ruled out suo motu action on the possible violations of the Companies Act by IPL and its franchisees.

Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi alleged that the IPL tournament was “glorified gambling” run with black money.

Modi’s pre-eminent position as IPL chief will be the main item on the IPL governing council’s (GC) agenda when it meets on April 26 morning, hours after the finals of the IPL-3. The GC deliberations may prepare the ground for a meeting of the BCCI’s working committee which will meet on May 2 and take a final view on Modi’s continuance as the IPL’s undisputed king.

Simple majority
Top BCCI sources told Deccan Herald here on Monday that it will require a simple majority of working committee members’ votes to remove Modi. “With a large majority of the members ranged against him, removing him will not be a difficult task”, the sources said.

They added that BCCI president Shashank Manohar, who is opposed to Modi, has been asked to submit a report on the ongoing IPL imbroglio. The report of the three-member committee will be discussed at the GC meeting.

Modi, who is also the chairman of the GC, has tenure as commissioner till 2012.  
Speaking to reporters, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla confirmed that the GC would discuss Modi’s fate. “All the allegations (against Modi) and other issues would be discussed in the governing council”, Shukla said.

Modi, who is alleged to have helped his relatives and friends buy stakes in various IPL teams, may be excluded from the meeting.

The sources added that Manohar and secretary N Srinivasan are planning to move a resolution against Modi at the board’s working committee meeting on May 2. The resolution could either reduce Modi’s powers in the IPL, or oust him from it altogether.
The government directed all its tax and intelligence arms to focus on the alleged “deeds and deals” of Modi and those of IPL in general. The scope of the probe will also cover the BCCI.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (on illegal overseas transactions), Directorate of Enforcement (on foreign exchange offences), Directorate of Anti-Evasion (on service tax offences), and the Directorate of Income Tax Investigation have been asked to speed up their probes, including allegations of foreign transactions, large-scale betting and money-laundering.

The multi-agency probe is said to have found large-scale violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.

In this context, a BCCI office-bearer said: “What began as a tweet on Kochi franchise’s stakeholding pattern has opened a Pandora’s box about financial irregularities in the IPL. Now, even the BCCI is under the scanner”. Modi is currently in Dubai to attend an ICC Executive Board meeting.

Modi, on the backfoot after a news report accused him of tax evasion, money laundering, match fixing and conducting various illegalities in the IPL’s financial dealings, said: “It’s absolute nonsense. The ICC anti-corruption unit is tracking the tournament. It is just another attempt to discredit IPL.”

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