Under fire over allegations of foreign exchange violations in IPL, BCCI’s top officials today blamed sacked Commissioner Lalit Modi for “mistakes” as they told a Parliamentary panel that they had given approvals at his behest in “good faith“.
BCCI President Shashank Manohar, Secretary N Srinivasan and IPL Chairman Chirayu Amin were quizzed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance for about two-and-a-half hours about the alleged FEMA violations.
The BCCI was asked about the funding pattern of the highly popular IPL and the methods adopted for payment to foreign and Indian players.
The Committee also sought details of the expenses incurred on the conduct of the second edition of the Twenty20 tournament in South Africa in 2009.
The IPL was held in the African nation in 2009 due to a clash of dates with the general elections in India.
Making a 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 Cricket South Africa (CSA) could be construed as FEMA violation as the operations of the account were controlled by BCCI.
Amin did not take questions from reporters after the hearing but sources say BCCI while replying to the queries said that it was not aware that by opening an account in South Africa it was actually indulging in FEMA violations.
They admitted that some mistakes were made, said a source.
Some of the officials are also believed to have told the Committee that certain transactions were done by Modi and they approved those in “good faith”, the source added.
The Committee asked how much money was credited into the CSA account and who did it. The Committee also asked the 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 routed 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 foreign exchange transactions.
It also asked how does the BCCI ensure 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 had also summoned IPL Governing Council member and former cricketer Ravi Shastri as a witness but did not turn up at the 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.