India probes world cricket boss

2015-02-17 14:19
Narayanaswami Srinivasan (Getty Images)

Mumbai - India's top financial policing agency is probing world cricket boss Narayanaswami Srinivasan and others over an alleged $69 million "facilitation fee" paid over broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League, an official said Tuesday.

The Enforcement Directorate has issued "show cause notices" to Srinivasan, disgraced former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi, the country's cricket board and foreign media companies over the fee for the 2009 tournament, the official said.

Part of the fee was allegedly illegally siphoned off to unknown individuals, sparking the probe into the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of which both Srinivasan and Modi were senior members, according to local media reports Tuesday.

"Srinivasan, Modi and the BCCI have been issued the show cause notices," an enforcement directorate officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Former IPL chief operating officer Sunder Raman and president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Manjit Singh were also under the agency's scanner, the officer said.

"Notice issued to BCCI, MSMS Singapore, WSE Mauritius, Lalit Modi & others" over alleged breach of foreign currency regulations over the 4.25 billion rupee ($69 million) facilitation fee, the directorate said in a tweet on Monday.

The Multi Screen Media (MSM) of Sony Entertainment paid the fee to the Mauritius arm of World Sports Group (WSG) as part of a contract for taking over the broadcast rights of the IPL, the popular Twenty20 tournament overseen by the BCCI, local reports said.

The BCCI, Srinivasan, the WSG and MSM were unavailable for comment.

Modi was removed as IPL head in 2010 and later banned for life for holding any positions in the sport over corruption allegations involving a separate case.

Modi, the founder of the money-spinning IPL, now lives in London.

Srinivasan, who was last year elected International Cricket Council chairman, was a senior member of the BCCI at the time.

Last year he was forced to quit as BCCI chief amid a Supreme Court probe into betting and other scandals involving the 2013 edition of the lucrative IPL.

Last month the court found Srinivasan guilty of a conflict of interest for having commercial dealings in the sport while heading the BCCI by owning an IPL franchise.

The players' auction for the latest edition of the IPL was held on Monday.

The IPL, a domestic tournament which began in 2008, features the world's top players signed up for huge fees by companies and high-profile individuals in a mix of sport and entertainment.

International news organisations including Agence France-Presse have suspended on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since 2012 after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.

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