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Parliamentary panel to quiz RBI Governor on IPL irregularities

PTI  New Delhi, September 22, 2010
First Published: 15:54 IST(22/9/2010) | Last Updated: 15:59 IST(22/9/2010)

A parliamentary panel looking into irregularities in the Indian Premier League (IPL) sporting extravaganza today decided to call Reserve Bank Governor D Subbarao to depose before the committee.

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The members were not satisfied with the replies given by RBI Deputy Governor Shyamala Gopinath on issues regarding involvement of banks in the IPL irregularities, especially remittances of foreign exchange, sources said after a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance here.

The committee, comprising members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, met under the chairmanship of former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and questioned Gopinath on the role of the central bank and commercial banks with regard to the transfer of funds to the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL franchisees, owners of the high-profile Twenty-20 cricket teams.

The committee is also believed to have discussed issues relating to violation of provisions of Company Law by IPL franchisees.

The date for the next meeting, sources said, would be decided later.

The meeting was called to discuss "foreign exchange and remittance-related offences and connected issues concerning IPL/BCCI."

In its meeting on July 14, the panel had sought details from the government on investigations into the alleged tax evasion by the BCCI and IPL franchisees. The alleged evasion of service tax for marketing and brand-building by IPL franchisees was also discussed in the previous meeting.

Besides Sinha, today's meeting was attended by Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Nishikant Dubey (BJP), M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), S S Ahluwalia (BJP) and Raashid Alvi (Congress), among others.

Earlier, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said his ministry had noticed non-compliance with Company Law rules by all IPL franchisees.

Different wings of the Finance Ministry have been probing the IPL's affairs ever since a controversy erupted in April over the annual money-spinning cricket tournament, which has a fair amount of glamour and entertainment.

The row and the face-off between former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor and suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi led to the government ordering enquiries by different departments into the affairs of the IPL and the teams owned by business houses and film stars.

In all, IPL has 10 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 BCCI as a sports promotion body entitled for exemptions.


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