I-T officials question Lalit Modi for 8 hrs over IPL deals
Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi was questioned for as long as eight hours over the financial dealings and share holding patterns of the cricketing body as Income Tax officials left his Worli-based office early today.india Updated: Apr 16, 2010 11:43 IST
Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi was questioned for as long as eight hours over the financial dealings and share holding patterns of the cricketing body as Income Tax officials left his Worli-based office early on Friday.
I-T officials visited IPL Head-Quarters at Wankhede Stadium as also Modi's office at Nirlon House in upmarket Worli, where they quizzed him from 7.15 pm to 3.20 am.
Modi, speaking to reporters later, said the I-T officials were visiting several places in the city in a bid to find out details of the bidding process and when he came to know of it, he invited them over to his office.
"They were given documentation details, they verified the documents and went through the entire process of bidding. We fully cooperated with them and provided them with all they required," the IPL Commissioner said.
Asked about the longer duration of the questioning, he said, "The questioning was over in a few minutes, but it took them longer as they had to go through the documents."
Modi said the officials saw the documents related to bidding by new franchisees owned by Sahara and Kochi consortium as well as those related to other IPL franchisees.
"They were very much satisfied. We are a public body and if they have more queries, we will answer them," he said on whether I-T authorities sought more time to question him.
The IPL chief rubbished media reports that his laptop was seized and unaccounted cash recovered from his office. "99 per cent of stories being put out by the media are untrue."
According to I-T sources, the agency apart from probing the sources bankrolling the cash-flush league is looking into whether ill gotten money staked away in tax havens like Mauritius has made its way into the IPL.
Modi, the brain behind IPL, has been in the eye of a storm ever since he tweeted about Rs 70 crore Sweat Equity in Kochi franchise being held by Sunanda Pushkar, a friend of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.
It triggered speculations about Sunanda being a proxy for Tharoor in the Kochi consortium, a charge that the minister has vehemently denied.
Raising questions about the propriety over a Union Minister having a proxy stake in an IPL franchise, the BJP and Left have demanded Tharoor's resignation.
Giving another twist to the murky IPL saga, Kochi franchise spokesman and former MP Satyajit Gaekwad had alleged that the IPL boss was acting under pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who after failing to secure a franchise for the state-based Adani Group, wanted the Kochi franchise to shift base to Ahmedabad.
Gaekwad, however, later retracted his statement.
Meanwhile, sources said the BCCI would discuss the issue in its working committee meeting on April 24.
Amid reports that BCCI President Shashank Manohar is likely to be appointed Co-Chairman of IPL to clip Modi's wings, the former chief of the Board and Union Minister Sharad Pawar virtually ruled out such a possibility.
"Since Manohar is BCCI President, it would not be proper to jointly head the IPL, which is a sub-committee of the apex cricketing body in the country," Pawar said.