The government said an investigation was being conducted into the functioning of IPL but remained non-committal on a JPC probe
The Indian government on Monday said an investigation was being conducted into the functioning of Indian Premier League (IPL) but remained non-committal on a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe demanded by opposition members who alleged that the tournament involved 'betting' and 'laundering of black money', reports PTI.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha that investigation into the sources and routes of funding for the Twenty20 tournament had already begun and 'no guilty or wrong-doer' would be spared.
"The concerned department has already started the investigation process (into the IPL episode). All aspects including sources of funding and routes through which the funds arrived would be looked into. Appropriate action as per law would be taken. No guilty or wrong-doer will be spared," Mr Mukherjee said.
His response came after Left parties, BJP, RJD, SP, JD(U) and BSP alleged that IPL involved "betting" and "laundering of black money" and asked the government to take control of it.
They welcomed the step of prime minister Manmohan Singh to seek the resignation of minister Shashi Tharoor over IPL allegations.
As soon as the House met for the day, Lalu Prasad (RJD), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP) and Sharad Yadav (JD-U) were on their feet demanding that the government ban the IPL which according to them has become a "betting and gambling ring".
Amid calls from Speaker Meira Kumar to allow the Question Hour, Sharad Yadav said, "The moot question is the IPL and not Tharoor." He was supported by Lalu Prasad.
Later during the Zero Hour, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta raised the issue. He said he welcomed prime minister Manmohan Singh's step of asking Mr Tharoor to resign, but the main issue related to IPL.
Alleging that the game involves "laundering of black money" and "white-washing of black money", he said it was an "aberration" taking place "under the nose of the finance ministry".
He criticised the 20-20 game format, saying it was a "caricature" of cricket which was sending a wrong message to budding cricketers.
"Players are bought like vegetables. Betting is taking place openly. It is not cricket but organised gamble," Mr Dasgupta alleged, adding that it involved huge amounts of money in a country which is poor in resources and has so many jobless people.
In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised by a JD(U) member who said funds of the IPL and BCCI should be confiscated.
Mr Dasgupta said there were reports that a large amount of money for IPL was coming from Mauritius and "dubious sources" in Dubai and black money in Swiss banks was being laundered into white money through this form of cricket.
He demanded that IPL should be banned and a JPC probe ordered to find out where the money is coming from.
Similar views were expressed by the deputy leader of the Opposition Gopinath Munde, Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh, Sharad Yadav and BSP's Dara Singh Chauhan. Mr Munde said IPL was a "scam" involving black money.
He said the prime minister had promised action in 100 days on illegal money stashed in foreign banks but these funds were being routed through IPL.
"The government should find the source of the money. There should be a probe to ascertain who runs (the show)," Mr Munde said. He also said that while bar girls in Mumbai had been barred from performing in bars, cheer girls are allowed to perform publicly.
Mr Prasad said while Mr Tharoor was just an excuse, a high-ranking official of the IPL had acquired assets like a plane abroad. The RJD chief thanked the prime minister for making Mr Tharoor resign and said the IPL should be banned and a JPC probe ordered. He also said that cricket should be nationalised.
Mulayam Singh said cricket, a "foreign game", was being promoted while national games were being neglected. Sharad Yadav alleged that IPL was "vulgar" and a "den of vices, black money and loot".
In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised by JD(U) member Shivanand Tiwari who said funds of the IPL and BCCI should be confiscated. "Players are being auctioned and the sport is being prostituted...," Mr Tiwari said.
Quoting media reports, he said income tax authorities are said to have found evidence including the use of black money and match-fixing in the last four years against IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.
RBI said that the Indian economy exhibited a clear momentum in recovery in 2009-10, despite deficient monsoon and estimated GDP growth at 7.2% (in FY10), up from 6.7% in 2008-09
A Reserve Bank survey on Monday projected the economy to grow by a higher 8.2% in the current fiscal, while the central bank warned that exit from stimulus could mar growth unless carefully planned, reports PTI.
RBI expected wholesale prices-based inflation, which is near the double-digit region now, to moderate over the next few months but warned of upside risks owing to firming global commodity prices, particularly oil.
"It is important to guard against the risk of hardening of inflation expectations conditioned by near double-digit headline WPI inflation," the apex bank said in its report—Macroeconomic and Monetary Developments in 2009-10—that takes stock of the previous fiscal.
The bank is tomorrow slated to announce its annual monetary stance for the current fiscal and bankers expect it to hike key policy rates to control inflation.
RBI said that the Indian economy exhibited a clear momentum in recovery in 2009-10, despite deficient monsoon and estimated GDP growth at 7.2% (in FY10), up from 6.7% in 2008-09.
The Reserve Bank's Survey of Professional Forecasters suggested a median growth of 8.2% in 2010-11.
"The exit from fiscal stimulus and the growth supportive monetary policy, unless calibrated carefully, could impact the growth process," the Bank said.
The government has already begun roll-back of fiscal stimulus by partly restoring excise duty, while the RBI too has hardened its monetary stance by hiking key short-term lending and borrowing rates by 0.25 percentage points last month.
SEBI's counter affidavit clearly stated that more than 50% of the shares of NSE are owned by Government of India or Government companies, thus establishing the Exchange as a public authority in terms of RTI
Last week the Delhi High Court, while ruling that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is bound to reveal information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, said the Exchange falls under the purview of 'public authority'. Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was found to have played a significant role in the case by filing a counter affidavit.
The NSE tried to maintain that since it is an autonomous body and not controlled by the government, it cannot be forced to disclose information under the RTI Act.
However, SEBI's counter affidavit clearly stated that Government of India or Government companies own more than 50% of the shares of NSE. The Exchange then tried to dispute the counter affidavit as 'contention and not factual statement'.
In the ruling, Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that since the aspect of factual dispute is examined by the Central Information Commissioner (CIC), he was not going into this aspect.
In 2007, the CIC had held that stock exchanges are quasi-governmental bodies which are bound to disclose information to the public under the RTI Act.
"It is held that the petitioner is a public authority as it is an authority or institution of self-government constituted or established by notification or order issued by the appropriate Government. It is also held that the petitioner is controlled by the appropriate Government. The writ petition WPC No.4748/2007 accordingly has no merit and is dismissed," the order said.
While directing the Exchange to put in place a mechanism for providing information under the RTI Act, the High Court said, “A stock exchange being a quasi-governmental body working under the statute and exercising statutory powers has to be held to be a public authority under the Act.
With this order, the stock exchange will now fall under the ambit of the RTI Act. As such, it will be forced to disclose information demanded by the public on various matters, subject to certain exceptions.
Justice Khanna, in the ruling, also said that the idea, purpose and objective behind the beneficial legislation is to make information available to citizens in respect of organizations, which take benefit and advantage by utilizing substantial public funds. This ensures that the citizens can ask for and get information and know how public funds are being used, and there is accountability, transparency and openness, the order said.
However, the embattled exchange may not take the order lying down and may soon appeal to the Supreme Court of India. Earlier, when Moneylife contacted an NSE official for their future plan of action, we were told that an immediate response would not be available.
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