Team owners allegedly tried to evade tax on tickets
The rift between the Kochi Tuskers Kerala team owners and Kochi Corporation hit a new low on Tuesday with the latter claiming that the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) team owners were trying to evade entertainment tax on a few tickets.
According to Corporation sources, the organisers tried to get tickets for G-1 and G-2 galleries, which were originally priced at Rs. 15,000, sealed at rates of Rs. 49 each. It was alleged that these tickets were presented along with bundles of tickets for Rs. 600, Rs. 400 and Rs. 1,000.
This anomaly was spotted by the staff engaged in sealing and was stopped immediately.
The organisers also presented only 50 tickets for those priced at Rs. 15,000 and 140 tickets for those priced at Rs. 10,000 for the match between local team and the Deccan Chargers on Wednesday. The Corporation officials became alert, as the number ot tickets presented for those priced at Rs. 15,000 were 544 for the first match and 543 for the second match. The corresponding tickets of those priced at Rs. 10,000 were 360 for first match and 164 for the second match.
But Vivek Venugopal, a joint owner of the Kochi team, explained that it was the right of the franchise owners to fix the rates for the tickets.
“The Mayor or the Corporation cannot decide how much the tickets are priced. And we don't have different rates for different seats within a sector but for one sector as a whole,” he said.
“We have fixed the price of one sector at Rs 49…these seats are meant for our guests, the visiting dignitaries, other team owners and guests of the host,” explained Vivek.
“We have a contractual obligation with the BCCI and we are supposed to give 15 per cent of the tickets to the Kerala Cricket Association and five per cent to the BCCI.”
He explained that since the Corporation was stubborn that the complimentary passes for the match cannot exceed five per cent, the owners had fixed a nominal rate (Rs 49) for seats in one sector which came to around 200 seats.
But since the Corporation refused to clear these tickets, Vivek said that the owners were forced to close the Rs 49 and Rs 15,000 sectors.
“We are shocked by the statement of the Mayor. If this approach continues, I can guarantee that we will not be here next year,” he said.
The finance standing committee led by Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra visited the stadium on Tuesday. Squads will be positioned at the stadium on Wednesday to ensure that only entries to the match were done only using tickets sealed by the Corporation.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Cricket Association Secretary T. C. Mathew said that Kerala needed to foster the IPL, the State's new baby. “The IPL is still in its infancy here, We have to foster the baby, not choke or kill it,” he said.