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I-T probes IPL teams, broadcast companies


Sumon K Chakrabarti,CNN-IBN
Apr 20, 2010 at 10:31pm IST

New Delhi: The investigations against the Indian Premier League have now been broad based. In a nationwide survey on Wednesday income tax officers swooped down on the offices of IPL franchisees Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab, and also on companies handling the broadcast rights of the league.

So the heat is well and truly on the IPL after Wednesday's survey by the income tax department. The ownership pattern Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab is under a serious corruption cloud.

Income tax officials searched the offices of Multi Screen Media (MSM) at the Office of Sony, the official IPL broadcaster, in Mumbai along with World Sport Group and Indian Management Group.

The Enforcement Directorate has also registered a case against IPL teams under Foreign Exchange Management Act to conduct enquiry into transfer of foreign funds into the teams.

CNN-IBN has learnt that there is prima facie evidence of funds being routed from tax havens like Mauritius, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Hong Kong. Large amounts of funds are suspected to have moved through a few firms set up in tax-havens in 2008 when the first IPL started.

Eight I-T teams in eight states headed by eight investigation director generals are said to be conducting the probe into the eight IPL teams.

The Enforcement Directorate is also looking at the involvement of a Rajasthan-based bookie allegedly close to IPL Chairman Lalit Modi.

An infamous arms dealer and his father, tainted in the Volcker controversy, also owns shares in King XI Punjab through front companies

I-T department is also finding out why in last three years, IPL franchisees have made many unaccounted expenditure but evaded tax on the same. Ownership of Shilpa Shetty and husband Raj Kundra's investment is also under scanner.

The ED suspects a franchise owner helped Modi buy his yacht and private aircraft by channeling foreign exchange through hawala routes

It's not just the case of illegal foreign exchange being routed into IPL through tax haven; there is a more serious issues at stake. Sources in the enforcement directorate have told CNN-IBN that they have now evidence that shows that money from the underworld mafia has been channeled into the cricket league and that's causing concern for intelligence agencies.

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