New Delhi: Amid charges of black money playing a part in the IPL, Sports Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to order an expeditious probe into it.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Lok Sabha today that the Sports Secretary Pradeep Kumar Deb has written a letter last week in this regard to the Revenue Secretary R S Gujral and has sought the inquiry to be conducted in an expeditious manner by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department.
Maken also said that 19 notices have been issued to IPL and BCCI for FEMA violations to the tune of Rs 1,077 crore and a Joint Secretary in the Sports Ministry has also written a letter to the ED on May 17 seeking expeditious probe into the matter.
The Sports Minister was responding to an issue raised by former cricketer Kirti Azad of BJP, who made a strong pitch for a special audit by independent people into the conduct of the BCCI and other concerned sports organisations which were registered.
Maken also made a strong pitch for bringing the BCCI under Right to Information, saying the Central Information Commission was hearing the issue.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, was present when the issue was raised and Azad, a former cricketer who sat on hunger strike yesterday, got support from the BJP benches as also JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and some Left members.
Azad, who has been vocal in the matter and has been raising the issue of black money in IPL, did not appear to be satisfied by the Sports Minister's announcement as he said that until and unless a special audit is conducted, it would not yield any result.
Seeking to dismiss charges by Azad that the government treats the BCCI with kid-gloves due to backing of influential people, Maken said the government has acted expeditiously against the BCCI in the past and has ensured that it no longer enjoyed tax exemptions as a charitable body.
He said IT Department had ensured the BCCI to pay income tax dues of Rs 365.24 crore from 1996-97 to 2006-07.
The income tax realised in 2007-08 was Rs 118 crore, while the tax liability of 2008-09 was Rs 257.12 crore, of which Rs 131 crore have been realised. For rest of the amount, the BCCI has gone to the tax tribunal.
The IPL tournament has come under cloud with five Indian cricket players being suspended last week pending an inquiry, as the BCCI cracked the whip in the wake of a TV sting operation which claimed to expose corruption in IPL.
Maken, who has been at the loggerheads with the BCCI over its refusal to come under the RTI, has been insisting that the cricket board could not be trusted to carry out a probe on its own into the spot-fixing allegations made in the TV sting.
The Sports Minister said BCCI qualifies for being brought under RTI in view of the fact that its single-most important function was to select the Indian team.
He said the BCCI and other cricket associations have got a large amount of land almost free from state governments and other institutions.
Azad alleged that the way the IPL was creating controversy after controversy, India's image was being lowered. He said the latest was that some IPL players have been caught in a rave party.
He said it was necessary to find out the source of money laundering through tax havens in the IPL and this could be done through special audits by independent people. He also took exception to BCCI's refusal to come under the RTI.
Describing the Finance Minister as a father figure for him as he had worked with his late father Bhagwat Jha Azad, the former cricketer wanted the government to act tough against wrong-doings of the IPL and the BCCI.