IPL- GATE-Pawar, Praful Patel

Pawar’s daughter fights IPL allegations-NDTV Correspondent, Thursday April 22, 2010, Mumbai

Senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have denied that any impropriety -moral or legal – that could link them to the perfect storm that is wrecking Indian cricket.

Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief, Sharad Pawar, angrily denied that her husband, or his father, financially benefit from an alleged association with the company that owns telecast rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

“My husband’s only role is that he is a cricket fan,” said Sule on Thursday, “he has no other role..please read my lips.” On Monday, in an interview to NDTV, Supriya Sule had stated that her family does not have “a single paisa” invested in the IPL. (Watch: My family has no IPL links, says Supriya Sule)

What’s flung itself at Pawar and his daughter is the fact that her father-in-law, BR Sule, is part of a consortium called Atlas Equifin, which owns a third of the company that owns the telecast rights to all IPL matches.

The deal that sanctioned the broadcast rights is  being investigated by tax officials because it involved an 80 million dollar “facilitation fee”, effectively a commission,  part of which allegedly went to Lalit Modi, the IPL Chairman. (Read: Modi questioned about IPL broadcast rights deal)

BR Sule, as part of Atlas Equifin, invested in Multi Screen Media, formally known as Sony Entertainment.

Supriya Sule clarified that  her father-in-law’s investment is not news; it is well-known, she argued, and she stated that he had at one point served as chairman of Sony India – a position, she stresses, he held in his own right as an acclaimed and accomplished executive.  However, after he fell sick, BR Sule, now 84, assigned signing rights to his son and Supriya’s husband, Sadanand.

The global broadcast rights for the IPL were originally bought in 2008 by WSG for ten years for more than 900 million dollars. The TV rights for India were then allotted by WSG to MSM. However, in 2009, the IPL cancelled the MSM contract, citing, among other reasons, poor-quality broadcasts. MSM went to court, but after a tough legal battle, decided on an out-of-court settlement.

The new deal saw MSM paying more than a billion dollars to hold onto the TV rights for the remaining nine years. MSM also gave WSG an 80 million dollar (Rs 425 crore) facilitation fee as part of its agreement.

The smallest of the chinks being probed in this deal is that WSG should pay 40 crores in tax for the facilitation fee it benefitted from.

According to sources in the Income Tax Department, WSG should be taxed to the tune of Rs 40 crore for the Rs 425 crore contract facilitation fee. So far MSM Singapore has paid just Rs 125 crore against facilitation fee to WSG Mauritius; no tax has been paid since this payment. Also, once the entire facilitation fee is paid, tax liability will be around Rs 140 crore.

Supriya Sule, in her emphatic denial of all things IPL, also batted for her NCP colleague Praful Patel, saying he too had nothing to do with the league.

Through the last few weeks, Pawar and his deputy, Praful, who is also the Civil Aviation Minister, have faced quite a few IPL googlies. (Read: I didn’t give Tharoor IPL insider info, says Praful)

.IPL-Gate gets murkier, aspersions now cast on another minister

THE IPL-GATE continues to reverberate with controversies and scams as new allegations surfaced on Wednesday claiming that Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had helped Shashi Tharoor with controversial Kochi bid.

The investigations revealed that Praful Patel through his secretary had communicated in an email to Shashi Tharoor the details stating the decided valuations of IPL Kochi franchisee. The secretary of Civil Aviation Minister had sent the mail on 19th March, two days prior to the opening of the Kochi bid which went to Kochi consortium.

Another twist in the IPL row can be seen with various Minister’s family members coming into the picture as they are linked in some way or the other to IPL. Recently, it was reported that Sharad Pawar’s son-in -law Sadanand Sule holds a 10% share in Multi Screen Media whose offices were raided by the Income Tax officials yesterday.

Multi Screen Media controls various channels who have broadcasting rights for IPL one of them being Sony Entertainment Channel. Sule’s wife and Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule came to her husband’s rescue and denied his involvement in the IPL Gate whatsoever.

In Praful Patel’s case, it has been reporded that Patel’s daughter Poorna, an IPL hospitality manager, had received an e-mail from IPL CEO Sundar Raman, which in turn was forwarded to Patel’s secretary.

The Civil Aviation Minister and NCP chief Praful Patel denied any link with the bidding process or with IPL as a whole stating that the information was sent by him on his ‘good friend’ Shashi Tharoor’s request and the allegations raged against him are completely baseless.


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