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Taxmen may question Kochi

Income tax authorities are likely to question stakeholders in Rendezvous Sports World Pvt Ltd, holders of 25 per cent sweat equity in the controversial Kochi IPL team, after examining details of the bidding process for the team, report Manish Pachouly and Manish Tiwari.

mumbai Updated: Apr 17, 2010 01:58 IST

Income tax authorities are likely to question stakeholders in Rendezvous Sports World Pvt Ltd, holders of 25 per cent sweat equity in the controversial Kochi IPL team, after examining details of the bidding process for the team.

I-T officials are going through two suitcases full of documents seized during their survey at three IPL offices in Mumbai that started on Thursday afternoon and ended early Friday. They will also look into IPL commissioner Lalit Modi’s statement, recorded by them for over seven hours.

A senior I-T official said, preferring anonymity, that most of the seized documents pertain to the Kochi franchise and the other new team, Pune. In addition, the department has taken back-up of data from computers in the IPL offices and Modi’s laptop, in close to 100 compact discs (CDs).

Data stored in Modi’s Blackberry phone has also been obtained, sources said.

Once the papers are scrutinised, notices will be served to the consortium members for questioning. “We have some doubts about a few stakeholders and the funds flow process,” an official said.

Sunanda Pushkar, friend of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, is one of the members of the consortium. Documents about the bidding process and shareholding patterns of the eight existing teams have not been gathered yet. “We will get them in the next few days as they are in various cities,” the official said.

The Enforcement Directorate has, at the same time, begun its own probe into the source of funding for Rendezvous Sports, Modi's alleged links with some franchise owners, especially Rajasthan Royals, and charges that he has acquired assets in London and Dubai.

“Some stakeholders seem to have routed their money through tax haven countries like Mauritius. We will get to the bottom of their transactions soon,” an ED official told the HT. The ED, he said, suspected large-scale money laundering in purchase of some of the franchises. Besides details of Emerging Media chaired by Manoj Badale — which has 33.33 per cent stake in Rajasthan Royals — the directorate will look into investments by Aditya Chellaram and Suresh Chellaram (husband of Modi's sister-in-law).

Meanwhile, I-T officials visited the Punjab Cricket Association stadium, Mohali, on Friday to gather details about the Kings XI Punjab franchisee. Lalit Modi is vice-president in the PCA, though the Association's joint secretary G.S. Walia denied the survey had anything to do with the Modi link.

With Inputs from Ashutosh Sharma