Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi and the eight IPL teams have been under the tax scanner for two years but it took the face-off between Modi and Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor to get the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to act.
After a series of meetings in which earlier "source reports" generated by I-T department on Modi and IPL franchises were reviewed, the CBDT ï¿½ cleared by the Finance Ministry ï¿½ today instructed I-T officials in Mumbai to ask the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for all "relevant" documents on all IPL franchises, including the Kochi team.
Four I-T officials conducted a survey at the BCCI headquarters from 4.30 pm till late tonight. Simultaneously, other I-T teams visited Modi's office at Worli and Hotel Four Seasons which happens to be base of the IPL chairman. Officials said that today's action wasn't a "raid or search" but a "visit to seek information."
The CBDT move came after a series of meetings in which earlier "source reports" generated by I-T department on Modi and IPL franchises were reviewed.
Said a key official in Mumbai: "We have been working on the Modi portfolio for long and our stand has been somewhat vindicated. While earlier the thinking in Government was that we should wait for IPL 3 to conclude before initiating any move, the mood changed suddenly when Modi took on a Central Minister involved in one of the teams."
A detailed progress report on the Lalit Modi-IPL probe so far was also submitted to the Finance Ministry by the CBDT today.
Officials said that after getting the green light from North Block, instructions were issued from New Delhi for IT sleuths in Mumbai to ask the BCCI to hand over all relevant bidding documents for all IPL teams. More importantly, the BCCI was also asked for documentary proof of shareholding of all the teams, overseas money transfers, any changes in shareholding since formation, profit and loss statements and revenue sources.
"Once we receive the documents, the tax implications for the BCCI and IPL teams and violations, if any, will be examined," an official said.
Officials in Mumbai confirmed that along with the IPL stakeholders, several aspects of Modi's post-IPL financial interests ï¿½ including his and his relatives' assets ï¿½ are under the scanner.