The top brass of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), including President Shashank Manohar, on Wednesday appeared before a Parliamentary panel to answer queries related to the organisation of the cash-awash Indian Premier League.
Apart from Manohar, BCCI Secretary N. Srinivasan and IPL Chairman Chirayu Amin were grilled over Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations during the conduct of the highly popular Twenty20 tournament.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha, had also summoned IPL Governing Council member former cricketer Ravi Shastri for a hearing.
The issue was with the Committee for long and it had spoken to the Finance Ministry in the recent past. Today it called the bigwigs of BCCI for clarifications.
The BCCI was asked about the funding pattern of the IPL and the methods adopted for payment to foreign and Indian players.
The Committee asked BCCI officials if they were aware about a government report that investments made by IPL franchisees such as Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians were rooted from outside India through entities, located in countries such as Mauritius, Bahamas, British Virgin Island.
They asked why the BCCI did not take approval from RBI, SIPB and other agencies for the above mentioned foreign exchange transactions.
It also asked how does the BCCI ensured that FDI received by the franchisees is not tainted money.
“Do you agree that large scale FEMA violations have been committed by the IPL Franchisees and their associates? If so what are the reasons thereof? What is the approach of the BCCI in this issue?,” was another query.
The BCCI was also asked to explain the ownership and shareholding pattern of the IPL franchisees, saying that it has noticed that in certain cases the investment have been made by some person/entity but share for corresponding money have been issued in the name of some other persons/entities.
The Committee also sought details of the expenses incurred on the conduct of the second edition of the IPL in South Africa in 2009. The IPL was held in South Africa in 2009 due to a clash of dates with the general elections here.
It asked whether BCCI followed FEMA and RBI guidelines for organisation of the second edition and how much money was credited into the Cricket South Africa account.
Making another case of FEMA violation against the BCCI, the Committee said the Board had not taken permission from RBI and Income Tax Department for opening and operating foreign current account in South Africa.
It said opening and operating of the account through an explicit agreement with the CSA could be construed as FEMA violation as the operations of the account were controlled by BCCI.