New Delhi: The Income Tax department has reportedly carried out surveys at the offices of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams the Sahara Pune Warriors India, and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai and Bangalore. Sources said the surveys were in connection with allegations of the use of black money in the cash-rich T20 tournament.
Here are top 10 developments in the case:
1) The surveys have reportedly been conducted at the offices of Sahara India, owners of the Pune Warriors, at the Sahara Star hotel in Mumbai.
2) RCB offices in Bangalore have reportedly been surveyed. A survey is a preliminary step before an investigation. Sources said the I-T team had collected some documents to study. The I-T officials are scrutinizing agreements related to buying of the players, and other I-T documents of the company related to IPL season 5. Computers and hard discs are also being studied. The surveys are expected to conclude by midnight.
3) Sahara India, which owns the Pune Warriors, has denied that there has been any such I-T survey. The company said its IPL team has no office in Pune or in Mumbai.
4) The Royal Challengers Bangalore confirmed that the I-T department had made an enquiry, but said there had been no raids at their offices. The Chennai I-T team is helping in the Bangalore survey.
5) IPL chairman and central minister Rajiv Shukla refused to comment saying this was between the I-T department and Sahara India.
6) The surveys come soon after Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Parliament that his ministry had recently asked the Finance Ministry to order an investigation into allegations of black money in thr IPL. This after a TV channel aired what it called a sting operation purportedly showing several IPL players on tape discussing spot-fixing and talking about being paid by franchises in black over and above the amount fixed by the BCCI.
7) In swift action after the TV sting operation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had suspended five cricketers allegedly caught on tape. One of them Mohnish Mishra, plays for the Pune Warriors. On tape, Mohnish purportedly talked about being paid in cash by his franchise.
After the tapes aired, Sahara India suspended Mohnish from the Pune Warriors. The company later released what it said was a letter from Mohnish Mishra clarifying that he had made those statements "casually" and that he had not been paid in cash by the franchise. "We once again reiterate that Sahara has never paid any amount in cash or otherwise to Mohnish Mishra or any other player, over and above the maximum amount permissible by BCCI for any such player and neither do we believe in this practice of giving black money," Pune Warriors owner Sushanto Roy had said in a press release.
8) Mr Maken had also told Parliament on Monday that 19 notices had been issued to IPL and BCCI for FEMA violations to the tune of Rs 1,077 crore. The minister has been at loggerheads with the BCCI over its refusal to come under the RTI and has insisted that the cricket board cannot be trusted to carry out a probe on its own into the spot-fixing allegations made in the TV sting.
9) The issue was raised in Parliament by former cricketer Kirti Azad of the 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. Mr Azad was particularly critical of the IPL and even held a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
10) Mr Azad's vocal protests were given fuel by more controversy hitting the IPL soon after the sting operation. First, the molestation case in which Royal Challengers Bangalore player Luke Pomersbach was accused of molesting a US woman, and then Pune Warriors players Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell being detained at a rave party in Mumbai.