More than two months after the Supreme Court appointed him as the head of a four-member panel to oversee the alleged murky affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India, former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai will have a different task at hand.
The Maharashtra revenue department will soon approach him with a request to make the BCCI pay stamp duty dues. It remains to be seen how he will repond to the government’s call.
Rai’s duty was to expose financial irregularities in the government bodies’ and now according to the SC, the BCCI is also a public body.
The stamp duty, which comes under state revenue department, was not paid by the BCCI while signing contracts with cricketers.
The BCCI signs contracts with every Indian and state cricketer and renews them from time to time. The cricket body in Mumbai is supposed to pay the stamp duty on these agreements, according to the Maharashtra Stamp Act.
Officials said they had been forced to take up the matter at the highest level as the BCCI, which is also the world’s richest cricket body, was not responding to notices.
“We have sent three notices to the BCCI, asking them to produce appropriate documents with the office of the registration and stamp duty to investigate the matter, but we did not get a proper response,” said a senior official.
The last notice was sent on February 16, but the department is still waiting for a reply. The first notice was issued on June 14, 2016, which was followed by another on July 1, the officials added.
According to the Indian Registration Act, 1908, the BCCI does not need to register these agreements with the department.
But the Maharashtra Stamp Act makes it mandatory for them to pay stamp duty on agreements with cricketers, the officials said.
Instead, the BCCI had once said that it was an autonomous body and would not submit the required documents, added the officer.
“We are hoping that Vinod Rai, who has been appointed by the apex court, will take the matter seriously and get it fixed. We will meet him once the new inspector-general of stamp and registration is appointed,” the officer said.
The state government recently transferred M Ramaswami from the post of IG, stamp and registration.
Speaking to HT, Amitabh Chaudhary, joint secretary of the BCCI, said, “I won’t be able to comment on the matter without a legal opinion.”
The issue was also raised in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly during the recently concluded budget session. While replying to the queries from legislators, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil had said that they were waiting for BCCI’s reply to the notice.