A probe into financial deals of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was broad-based on Wednesday with search operations on Kolkata Knight Riders' and Chennai Super Kings' offices. Earlier today there were also raids on Multi Screen Media, World Sports Group and Pat Magnarella Management, its event management and broadcast firms in Mumbai, even as a case was registered to investigate the foreign exchange violations by its franchises.
A team of over 50 officials of the Directorate of Income Tax Investigation started the operations on the premises of Multi Screen Media, World Sports Group and Pat Magnarella Management in Bandra, Khar and Malad suburbs of north-west Mumbai in the morning.
Earlier called Sony Entertainment Television, Multi Screen Media has the telecast rights for the IPL T20 cricketing extravaganza for 10 years from 2008, while World Sports Group acquired the global media rights for IPL for 10 years for over $1.5 billion.
Pat Magnarella Management is a full-service management, branding, and marketing services company, which in the past specialised in the music business and later made a foray into sports as well, officials said.
In the capital, another investigative wing of the finance ministry, the Directorate of Enforcement, registered a preliminary case against the IPL and its franchises to probe possible violations of foreign exchange rules and regulations.
The case was registered under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act in a bid to help the directorate's officers to search the premises of suspected people, seize incriminating material and hold enquiries, officials said.
A probe by the tax department had first started with the Kochi franchise of IPL last Wednesday. A day after, officials from the income tax department visited the various offices of the IPL in Mumbai and questioned its commissioner Lalit Modi.
Based on the documents collected, the tax probe was then extended to other cities as well, following which all the wings of the finance ministry were roped in for parallel investigations.
Finance ministry officials said their main concern was whether ill-gotten money stashed abroad was being brought back into the country, as also whether there was tax evasion by IPL and its franchises.
The question of free equity to some directors of franchises is also being probed.
The 10 franchises under scrutiny are Kochi's Rendezvous Sports, Pune's Sahara group, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.