Sports Ministry for probe into charges of black money in IPL

Sports Minister Maken said that 19 notices have been issued to IPL and BCCI for FEMA violations to the tune of Rs1,077 crore and Sports Ministry Joint Secretary has also written a letter to the ED on 17th May seeking expeditious probe into the matter

New Delhi: Amid charges of black money playing a part in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sports Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to order an expeditious probe into it, reports PTI.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken told the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Sports Secretary has written a letter last week in this regard to the Revenue Secretary and has sought the inquiry to be conducted in an expeditious manner by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department.

Maken also said that 19 notices have been issued to IPL and Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) for Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations to the tune of Rs1,077 crore and Sports Ministry Joint Secretary has also written a letter to the ED on 17th May seeking expeditious probe into the matter.

The Sports Minister was responding to an issue raised by former cricketer Kirti Azad of BJP, who made a strong pitch for a special audit by independent people into the conduct of the BCCI and other concerned sports organisations which were registered.

Maken also made a strong pitch for bringing the BCCI under Right to Information, saying the Central Information Commission was hearing the issue.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is Leader of the Lok Sabha, was present when the issue was raised and Azad, a former cricketer who sat on hunger strike yesterday, got support from the BJP benches as also JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and some Left members.

Azad, who has been vocal in the matter and has been raising the issue of black money in IPL, did not appear to be satisfied by the Sports Minister's announcement as he said that until and unless a special audit is conducted, it would not yield any result.

Seeking to dismiss charges by Azad that the government treats the BCCI with kid-gloves due to backing of influential people, Maken said the government has acted expeditiously against the BCCI in the past and has ensured that it no longer enjoyed tax exemptions as a charitable body.

He said IT Department had ensured the BCCI to pay income tax dues of Rs365.24 crore from 1996-97 to 2006-07. The income tax realised in 2007-08 was Rs118 crore, while the tax liability of 2008-09 was Rs257.12 crore, of which Rs131 crore have been realised. For rest of the amount, the BCCI has gone to the tax tribunal.

The IPL tournament has come under cloud with five Indian cricket players being suspended last week pending an inquiry, as the BCCI cracked the whip in the wake of a TV sting operation which claimed to expose corruption in IPL.

Maken, who has been at the loggerheads with the BCCI over its refusal to come under the RTI, has been insisting that the cricket board could not be trusted to carry out a probe on its own into the spot-fixing allegations made in the TV sting.

The Sports Minister said BCCI qualifies for being brought under RTI in view of the fact that its single-most important function was to select the Indian team.

He said the BCCI and other cricket associations have got a large amount of land almost free from state governments and other institutions.

Azad alleged that the way the IPL was creating controversy after controversy, India's image was being lowered. He said the latest was that some IPL players have been caught in a rave party.

He said it was necessary to find out the source of money laundering through tax havens in the IPL and this could be done through special audits by independent people. He also took exception to BCCI's refusal to come under the RTI.

Describing the Finance Minister as a father figure for him as he had worked with his late father Bhagwat Jha Azad, the former cricketer wanted the government to act tough against wrong-doings of the IPL and the BCCI.

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Pomersbach tells police he was under influence of alcohol

The Australian cricketer, who is playing for Royal Challengers in IPL, has confessed to the crime

New Delhi: Investigators on Monday claimed that Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach, arrested on charges of molesting an American woman, had told them that he inadvertently touched the victim and was under the influence of alcohol when the incident took place, reports PTI.

Indian Police sources also said that the name of Royal Challengers player KP Appanna has cropped up in the case after he was identified in a CCTV footage. He was allegedly seen accompanying Pomersbach to the room of the victim.

Pomersbach was arrested on Friday after Zohal Hamid alleged that he molested her and hit her fiance Sahil Peerzada when he objected to the cricketer's behaviour. Peerzada was punched in his ear following which he had to undergo a surgery.

Sources claimed that the Australian cricketer, who is playing for Royal Challengers in Indian Premier League (IPL), has confessed to the crime. They said he told investigators that he was under the influence of alcohol and inadvertently touched the victim.

Pomersbach or his lawyer could not be contacted for comments.

On Appanna, a senior police official said, "We have examined the CCTV footages and identified Appanna. We have spoken to him. We are yet to formally question him."

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BHEL wins contract for 1,320MW Solapur power project

BHEL has won a contract for supply and installation of electrostatic precipitator package for 2x660 MW (1,320 MW) Solapur Supercritical Thermal Power Project in Maharashtra

New Delhi: State-owned BHEL on Monday said it has received a contract for supplying equipment at Solapur Super Thermal Power Project in Maharashtra, reports PTI. The company did not provide financial details of the contract.

"BHEL has won a contract for supply and installation of Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) package for 2x660 MW (1,320 MW) Solapur Supercritical Thermal Power Project," the company said in a statement.

BHEL's scope of work in the contract involves design, engineering, manufacture, supply, and erection and commissioning of the complete ESP package.

The ESP shall be manufactured at BHEL's Ranipet plant, while the High Voltage Rectifier Transformers will be supplied by the company's Jhansi plant.

BHEL's Power Sector Western Region will be responsible for erection and commissioning of the ESP, the statement said.

Meanwhile, last week the company won an order worth Rs380 crore from Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RRVUNL) for setting up a 160 MW gas-based plant in Rajasthan.

The Rs380 crore contract is the expansion project (Stage IV) of Ramgarh power plant in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan.

BHEL's scope of work envisages design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of the Main Plant and providing equipment for the Gas-based power project.

The equipment for the project will be supplied by BHEL's Hyderabad, Trichy and Bangalore plants, while the company's power sector Northern Region will undertake erection and commissioning of the equipment.

Shares of BHEL were trading at Rs203.95 apiece, up 1.27% on the BSE.

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