Parliament panel seeks information on tax evasion by IPL teams

Parliament panel seeks information on tax evasion by IPL teams

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which met here under the chairmanship of BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, asked for information from the finance ministry on the progress of different probes into the alleged income and service tax evasion and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), a high-level source said.

"The government was pulled up as committee members asked for certain clarifications from Revenue Secretary...", he added. The questions were related to the amount of funds collected by India's cricket board BCCI, including from IPL matches, the source of funds and the foreign exchange involved. The alleged evasion of the service tax for marketing and brand-building by IPL franchisees also came up for discussion.

He said the committee would make further enquiries in the next meetings. Among others, the meeting was attended by MPs including S S Ahluwalia (BJP), Raashid Alvi (Congress) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD). Interim IPL Commissioner Chirayu Amin was was asked to be present in the meeting.

Different wings of the finance ministry are probing the IPL affairs since eruption of a controversy in April over running of the annual money-spinning cricket tournament, which has a fair amount of glamour and entertainment.

The row and the face-off between a former Union minister Shashi Tharoor and suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi led to government ordering enquiries by its different departments into the affairs of the IPL and the teams owned by business houses and film stars. In all, IPL has ten franchisees of which eight are functional. These include the Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Superkings and King's XI Punjab.

Since the commercialisation of cricket, particularly after the launch of the IPL series, the tax authorities do not consider Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as sports promotion body entitled for exemptions.