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FACING THE HEAT: Leading a united Opposition attack on the government in Parliament on Friday, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj demands a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the affairs of the IPL. Responding to the Opposition, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee sought time for considering a JPC inquiry.
NEW DELHI: Tremors from the rapidly imploding Indian Premier League behemoth echoed through Parliament on Friday, with a united Opposition stalling both Houses demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe covering the full range of irregularities in the control and management of the money-spinning T-20 cricket tournament.
In a related development, embattled IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi facing the onslaught of income tax and Enforcement Directorate investigations and the threat of ouster, sought five days' time from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to present his case before the cricketing body.
A determined Opposition both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha kept up the chant for a JPC into the T-20 mega scam. The uproar in the Lok Sabha brought Finance Minister Pranab Mukherhjee to his feet. Mr. Mukherjee promised that he would convey the sentiments of the House to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Outside, the various enforcement wings of the government agencies cast their nets wider even as allegations of betting and match fixing during the second edition of IPL in South Africa surfaced, threatening the carefully constructed brand image of the game as well potentially damaging the reputations of several players charged with benefiting from the “slush money.''
The tax authorities also slapped notices on Kolkata Knight Riders Sports Private Limited and Gameplan Sports seeking details of their dealings in the IPL, and directing them to appear before the authorities on April 28 in connection with the searches conducted at the premises of the two companies.
“We have issued notices to both Knight Rider Sports and Gameplan,'' Director-General of I-T investigation (East) Vinod Khurana stated.
The tax authorities in Mumbai are probing the funding and shareholding pattern of KKR Sports as the company was based in Mumbai.
On the other hand, IPL CEO Sundar Raman appeared before the Income Tax authorities in Mumbai and submitted a large number of documents pertaining to IPL deals, franchisee details, sponsors, event managers and their respective roles.
Director-General (Investigations) B.P. Gaur submitted a “source report'' to the Finance Ministry even as Mr. Mukerhjee held intense consultations with the top officials of the investigating agencies to gauge the depth of the scam that could have cross-border implications.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla also met Mr. Mukherjee and apprised him of the developments in the Board as well as those concerning the IPL.
The income tax sleuths are also probing the alleged links of Kings XI Punjab with the name of one Delhi-based individual cropping up as a possible proxy. Sources said the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council cautioned the BCCI last year that bookies had entered the game which was not in its best interest. However, both the BCCI and IPL chose to overlook the ICC unit's warnings.
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