A discussion on the working of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in the Rajya Sabha turned out to be a discussion on alleged money laundering in the Indian Premier League, with members across the party lines speaking on the irregularities seen in BCCI, IPL and the media being obsessed with it.

BJP on Thursday attacked Praful Patel for his alleged role in valuations of IPL bids, saying the civil aviation minister could not value Air India or Indian Airlines but wants to play a consultant’s role in T20 cricket tournament.

“You (Praful Patel) could not do Air India or Indian Airlines valuations...you could not come up to the expectation (on performance of your ministry), don’t be a valuation consultant in IPL,” BJP leader Prakash Javedakar said in Rajya Sabha.

He said Mr. Patel’s office forwarded e-mails from IPL CEO Sunder Raman to former junior external affairs minister Shashi Tharoor’s office discussing details of IPL franchise valuations.

Mr. Javedakar said, all shareholding (of the IPL franchisees) must be revealed. Information about the IPL teams should be made public, more so the financial details.

He demanded that the inflows through the Mauritius route and its origin should be investigated by the Government.

The BJP leader urged Sports Minister M.S. Gill to assert himself and get to the bottom the IPL mess.

“We feared you as Election Commissioner.... now use your right and assert yourself and the whole country will be with you,” he told Gill.

‘BCCI lacks accountability’

Earlier, initiating the discussion on the working of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Jayanthi Natarajan (Cong) said IPL has given birth to “crony capitalism and worst corporate governance.”

Attacking the “celebrity obsessed reporting” by media, she said the other initiatives of the Government, like the Panchayati Raj was not covered by the media like the manner in which IPL was done.

Ms. Natarajan demanded that the IPL should have been under the sports ministry and it has become a “blatant” case of self-regulation.

She said BCCI gets huge tax exemption and has no accountability, responsibility or transparency. “We should not allow vested interests to continue,” she said.

Ms. Natarajan questioned certain sports bodies being headed by individuals for as long as 40 years despite former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi making a rule that no person would head a federation for more than two terms.

Probe needed

Kamal Akhtar (SP) demanded a CBI inquiry into the allegations, while Saman Pathak (CPI(M)) sought a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe.

Demanding a CBI probe against IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, Shiv Sena member Manohar Joshi said, "The matter will be set right only after a CBI enquiry is instituted against Modi...He is prepared to reveal the names of politicians who invested money in it."

"He (Modi) has earned crores of rupees in IPL," Mr. Joshi alleged and said BCCI must see in its meeting on April 26 that Mr. Modi goes.

There is no need of two bodies (IPL and BCCI) to oversee the game of cricket, he said stressing, "Consider banning IPL for three years and then give it to proper people."

Besides, he said, glamour girls working as cheer leaders should be banned.

He also demanded to know as to why cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, considered the best cricket player in the world, was not honoured with Bharat Ratna.

V Hanumantha Rao (Cong) said there is a need to regulate the IPL.

M V Mysura Reddy (TDP) said IPL requires a joint parliamentary committee probe to check its misuse in private hands as money spinning it is bigger than economy of many sectors.

A minister has resigned in shame and many other ministers, parliamentarians and politicians are involved in it, he said.

Mr. Reddy said there was speculation that blocked money went to Mauritius and is coming to India as franchisees. Besides, he said, it is alleged that multi-screen media gave $80 million kickback to have its right.

It is said billions of dollars is involved in betting and match fixing with names like Dawood Ibrahim also coming to the fore, Reddy said.

R.C. Singh (CPI) demanded to know as to why only Rs 300 crore of the IPL funds went to government when it generated Rs 4,500 crore and stressed the need to book the guilty.

Ranjitsingh V Mohite Patel (NCP) drew the attention of the House towards filling up of the vacant posts in Sports Authority of India and providing better facilities to youth.

Terming the process for selecting sportspersons in the country as faulty, Anil Kr Sahani (JD-U) alleged that while elites were inducted in various sports, poor tribal and rural youth with inherent talent in sports were subjected to injustice.

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