Citizens' Issues
Controversies continue to have a ball in IPL
One of the most popular and successful IPL franchise, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK), found themselves under the Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner when the agency sought details regarding the undervaluation of the franchise
 
From match fixing allegations to ugly on-field brawls and a love-struck cricketer breaching rules to meet his sweetheart: the ongoing edition of the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) has drawn the spotlight as much for controversies as for cricketing exploits.
 
Since its inception eight years ago, the cash-rich IPL has been hailed for bringing forth new and exciting talent or resurrecting many a fledgling career. But simultaneously, it has derived bad publicity for a host of unsavoury events over the years that included spats between team owners to the unceremonious sacking of its creator Lalit Modi.
 
Season 2015 is no exception.
 
One of the most popular and successful IPL franchise, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK), found themselves under the Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner when the agency sought details regarding the undervaluation of the franchise.
 
As part of the process of former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) boss N. Srinivasan distancing itself from CSK, owned by his company India Cements Ltd., following a Supreme Court order citing conflict of interest, the India Cements proposed to transfer control of the franchise to a trust, at only Rs.5 lakh.
 
According to an estimate, CSK pays Rs.40 crore as annual franchisee fee and spends over Rs.60 crore on players' remuneration every year.
 
The BCCI has now sought legal opinion on the issue.
 
Spelling more trouble, Modi made a sensational claim that at least four CSK players were involved in match fixing.
 
Referring to the Justice Mudgal Committee which has submitted its report on IPL spot fixing to the Supreme Court, Modi earlier in the month tweeted: "So here is my BREAKING STORY - IF THE #HONORABLE #SUPREME #COURT WAS TO REVEAL THE NAMES OF PLAYERS INVOLVED IN FIXING - at least 4 are CSK."
 
Modi also claimed that "9,000- 10,000 crore of rupees per game" was being cast as bets in the IPL.
 
The fixing demon again haunted the tourney when Rajasthan Royals disclosed that one its cricketers was approached for fixing by a player not part of the IPL. Royals' chief executive officer (CEO) Raghu Iyer claimed the approached player refused the offer and informed his team management, who in turn reported the matter to BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).
 
Well, it's not CSK alone to face the music of the authorities over alleged undervaluation.
 
The ED in May summoned Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) co-owners Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, actress Juhi Chawla and her husband Jay Mehta. KKR is suspected to have violated Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) norms by under valuing its shares in a transfer deal with Mehta's overseas company, Sea Island Investments Ltd.
 
Earlier, the defending champions created a flutter even before a ball was bowled in the tourney by threatening a pull out if star spinner Sunil Narine was not allowed to play. Narine was earlier banned by the BCCI and not allowed to play for KKR in the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 final after being reported for a suspect action.
 
Eventually cleared by the BCCI after undergoing biomechanical tests in Chennai at the start of the ongoing IPL, he was again barred from bowling his off-spinners. Subsequently cleared after another biomechanical test, the mystery spinner failed to live up to the expectations as the Gautam Gambhir-led side crashed out of the competition.
 
Known for his power hitting, Knights' opener Robin Uthappa came under fire after he allegedly held Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) youngster Sarfaraz Khan "by the collar". While match referee Javagal Srinath denied receiving any complaint, Gambhir called it "not a major issue" and which "happens with a lot of people".
 
It may not be a controversy in the strict sense, but Mumbai Indians all-rounder Kieron Pollard did attract many a frown when he literally put a tape on his mouth after an umpire asked him not to talk too much with compatriot and RCB opener Chris Gayle at the packed M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
 
RCB skipper Virat Kohli, who was in the news for a heated argument with umpire Kumar Dharmasena during a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, was found guilty of breaching the ACSU protocol by meeting his girlfriend Anushka Sharma during a match against Delhi Daredevils.
 
While the ACSU protocol states that players can't meet any non-accredited personnel when the match is on, Kohli met his actress beau in the stands at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium during a rain-induced halt. The duo were seen on the giant screen at the stadium and the host broadcaster too cashed-in on the visual treat to relay it to households.
 
He was later let off by the BCCI which saw the incident as a "minor digression".

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Investment policy for overseas Indians tweaked
The union cabinet on Thursday approved certain amendments to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy to make investments by overseas Indians in the country easier and simpler.
 
Overseas Indians comprise Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs).
 
According to a cabinet communique, the cabinet approved redefining an NRI as an individual resident outside India who is a citizen of India or is an OCI cardholder under Section 7 (A) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, while PIOs who have registered under the August 19, 2002, central government notification "will be deemed to be overseas citizens of India".
 
Investment by NRIs under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) will be treated as a domestic investment at par with investments made by residents.
 
"The decision to include OCIs and PIOs under NRIs is meant to align the FDI policy with the government policy and provide parity in economic, financial and educational arena," the statement said.
 
"The amendment is expected to result in increased investments across sectors and greater inflow of remittances leading to the country's economic growth," the statement added.
 
The FDI policy for investments by overseas Indians was reviewed with amendments as a follow-up of reform measures the NDA government initiated in the past one year and assurances Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave to the Indian diaspora during his official visits to the US, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea recently.

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Four north Indian states agree on uniformity in tax rates
The north Indian states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on Thursday agreed on achieveing uniformity in tax rates, a Delhi government statement said.
 
The consensus was brought in a meeting of finance ministers of these states at the Delhi Secretariat on Thursday.
 
"There should be uniformity in rates of VAT on all goods, especially the goods in which trade diversion takes place, with minimum difference in the sale price," the statement said.
 
Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, his Punjab counterpart Sukhbir Singh Badal along with the finance ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Himanchal Pradesh took part in the meeting.
 
The statement said that a committee of secretaries/commissioners of finance/taxation departments of the states should be formed and its decisions should be implemented in a time bound manner.
 
Punjab's commissioner, excise and taxation will coordinate the meeting, it added.
 
The ministers also agreed to establish a Zonal Economic Intelligence Unit to avoid cross-border smuggling of goods.

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