New Delhi: The income tax authorities have asked Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab--the three IPL teams owned by cine stars Shilpa Shetty, Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta, respectively--for information on the sources of their funding and ownership details.
At the same time, the department has also approached authorities in tax havens such as Mauritius, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands for details of registration and investments from there in these franchises, and also to ascertain whether illegal Indian funds were ploughed back to the country or not.
Communication seeking information, particularly relating to funding or stake-holding by foreign entities, were sent to them recently after the I-T authorities found the information provided by these as inadequate, a senior official said.
In the case of the other seven franchises, mostly owned by industrial houses like Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, Vijay Mallya-promoted UB Group, GMR and Sahara Group, the department is satisfied and seeks to hold no further investigations, he said.
"The income tax department has written to the three franchisees to get more information on the ownership and source of funds of foreign entities and stakeholders in them," a key finance ministry source told PTI.
There are 10 franchisees in the IPL, including the recently awarded Pune (Sahara Group) and Kochi (Rendezvous Sports which is a consortium of investors) for a total of over Rs 3,200 crore.
"As the department is only looking into the tax aspects of franchisees, wherever the source of funding has been established, the department does not consider to make further investigation," the source said.
"The department has approached Mauritius directly as the country has a double taxation avoidance agreement with it, while others have been approached through foreign ministry to see whether there is round-tripping of Indian funds," the sources added.
Round-tripping refers to money from one country goes out through unofficial channels and is invested back in the same country through outside to avail of tax benefits under the double tax avoidance agreements. Such countries are referred as tax havens.
The whole controversy over IPL began with the then IPL commissioner Lalit Modi tweeting certain comments raising questions over the ownership of the Kochi franchise, which was backed by the then minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor.
Later, Tharoor was forced to quit the ministry when it came to be known that his friend Sunanda Pushkar got sweat equity of Rs 70 crore in the Kochi team. As the controversy got murkier, Modi was suspended as IPL commissioner by BCCI for alleged irregularities in the cricket tournament.