Lalit Modi may be called for questioning: I-T department
After an overnight operation at the BCCI headquarters and the offices of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, the Income Tax department may now call him for further questioning with regard to the bidding process for the hugely popular cricket league. Tax probe on IPL, franchises could extend to other citiesmumbai Updated: Apr 16, 2010 21:57 IST
After an overnight operation at the BCCI headquarters and the offices of IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, the Income Tax department may now call him for further questioning with regard to the bidding process for the hughely popular cricket league.
I-T sources said during the seven-hour operation that ended in the wee hours of Friday they took copies of the bidding documents of all the franchisees including the Kochi consortium, over which a controversy involving Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has arisen.
"We may call him for questioning as being a Commissioner he is involved in all the financial and other businesses of the IPL," a senior I-T department official said on the condition of anonymity.
Modi and BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty were present during the I-T officials' visit to the offices when the investigators were looking for documents to trace the source of funding of the cash rich T20 tournament.
Modi claimed this morning that the officials found everything in order and they have gone back "satisfied".
"They did not know the bidding procedure and asked me about it. They also sought the names of bidders and final documents of successful bids for the Kochi and Pune teams. We have complied with all the information," he said.
To a question he said he was questioned for 15-20 minutes. The officials wanted papaers related to two teams and it took time to collect from two or three different places.
The sources said the opeartions were conducted under Section 133 (6) of the Income Tax Act which pertains to the power of the tax authorities to call for any information.
Officials do not rule out questioning officials of diffferent franchisees and calling for documents to find out the source of investment into the teams.
The Mumbai directorate has already sent an initial report on yesterday's operation at the IPL and BCCI premises.
"Once we have the understanding of the bidding process and the investment patterns of these franchisees a nation-wide operation will be launched to ascertain and check tax evasion and money laundering in the entire process," the official said.
Sources said the IPL had ignored an earlier I-T notice which asked them about the details of bidding and source of funds for the IPL.
The department will also scrutise the taxes accrued from the TDS returns filed by the franchisees for payments made to sportpersons, coaches and other sporting facilities.
The I-T department has created a special cell in Mumbai to keep a tab on the income generated by the IPL and its various other marketing ventures.