NEW DELHI: Investments in Indian Premier League cricket teams are under scrutiny as allegations of corruption engulf the multibillion-dollar tournament.The Indian government has announced a sweeping investigation into ”all aspects” of the IPL’s financing, including complex team ownership and funding structures. The Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, said any ”wrongdoers” identified would not be spared.”All aspects of IPL – including its source of funding, from where the funds were routed, how it has been invested – are being looked into,” he told parliament.Taxation officials have already visited the offices of Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, who is under pressure to step down.Mr Mukherjee’s announcement follows the resignation of the Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, over his role in bidding for a new IPL team. He was accused of using his office to help a female friend get a stake in a new franchise in the south Indian city of Kochi. Mr Tharoor, 54, formerly a senior official in the United Nations, was considered one of India’s most talented ministers.More than 40 Australians are involved in the IPL as players, coaches, support staff and umpires. Australian stars including Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey and Andrew Simmons will take part in the finals series of the league starting tonight.Mr Modi dismissed reports on the allegations as ”speculations” on Twitter. ”Welcome all investigation – ready to extend all co-operation,” he wrote.The Mauritius firm EM Sporting Holdings Limited owns the Indian company Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited, which in turn runs the Rajasthan Royals. Shane Warne is the captain-coach of the Royals, winner of the inaugural IPL in 2008.Lalit Modi’s brother-in-law, Suresh Chellaram, holds a 44.15 per cent stake in EM Sporting Holdings, stoking suspicions that Mr Modi may have a hidden stake in the Royals. But the Royals chairman, Manoj Badale, said yesterday there were “no hidden stakes” in the franchise.Senior Indian opposition leaders have called for the IPL to be disbanded. The Communist Party leader, Gurudas Dasgupta, told parliament the league was being used for money laundering and illegal gambling ”under the nose” of the Finance Ministry: ”Players are bought and sold like vegetables. Betting is taking place openly. It is not cricket but an organised gamble.”The former railway minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav, called for the IPL and the governing cricket body the BCCI to be nationalised.The Minister for Indian Overseas Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, called the IPL ”glorified gambling with black money” and demanded an inquiry into Mr Modi’s connections with an opposition party.The IPL’s estimated value has more than doubled in the past year to $4.5 billion, according to the research company Brand Finance, ranking it among the world’s 200 most valuable brands.
Nanjing Night Net