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IPLgate in parliament
NEW DELHI, APR 23 (IANS/Agencies):
Published on 24 Apr. 2010 12:39 AM IST
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After four days of calm, the Indian Premier League (IPL) storm plunged both houses of parliament into turmoil Friday after the opposition demanded a parliamentary probe into the country’s worst sports crisis.
But the IPL was not the only issue that incensed MPs. The Rajya Sabha witnessed vociferous protests over the continued absence of Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri when he failed to show up during question hour -- in a re-run of what happened in the Lok Sabha Thursday.
The IPL row prompted two adjournments of the Lok Sabha but it functioned normally when it reassembled after the lunch recess. The Rajya Sabha also saw two adjournments, the second for the day after it reassembled at 2.30 p.m.
Furious over continuous revelations of alleged financial wrongdoings in the popular IPL cricket extravaganza, the opposition called for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the functioning of IPL.
The government said it would consider the request.
“I have noted everybody’s suggestion. I will forward the sentiments to the prime minister (Manmohan Singh),” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Left and other opposition parties raised the issue to target the government that finds itself in a fix ahead of the key finance bill and vote on budget.
Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj insisted that a JPC be appointed to look into allegations that the IPL had been enveloped by match-fixing, betting, money laundering and improper award of franchises.
She said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was delaying the probe to protect some political leaders.
Terming the IPL “a den of thieves”, Janata Dal-U leader Sharad Yadav insisted that two ministers figured in the controversy -- but he did not name them.
“Two ministers have been named,” he said, in an apparent reference to Agriculture Minister Sharad Yadav and Aviation Minister Praful Patel, senior leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key UPA ally.
Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India called the IPL one of the worst cases of corruption to hit India.
Media reports allege that Patel forwarded an e-mail to Shashi Tharoor with projections for the bidding of new IPL franchises. Tharoor last week quit as junior foreign minister after being linked to the IPL Kochi franchise. Pawar’s daughter and MP Supriya Sule has maintained that her family has no connection with the IPL.
As the opposition members kept shouting “We want JPC”, Speaker Meira Kumar was forced to adjourn the Lok Sabha till noon.
When the members reassembled, the MPs again created a ruckus.
Deputy Speaker Karia Munda asked the government to lay 14 business papers amid the din. The house was then adjourned till 2 p.m. When it met again, it resumed the debate on the budget for 2010-11.
In the Rajya Sabha, opposition members led by BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Prakash Javadekar sought a JPC probe into what is being increasingly described as the IPL scandal. Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house till 2.30 p.m.
A television news channel on Friday accessed the I-T investigation report into match-fixing angle in the IPL controversy. The report says investigations revealed Lalit Modi has interests in three teams. The report goes on to name Samir Thakral as front for Lalit Modi whose phone records show conversations with bookies, according to Times Now.
The news channel has learnt that serious investigations are on into possible match-fixing and betting in IPL Season 2 which took place in South Africa. The entire investigation now seems to be honing in on IPL 2. In fact, the Income Tax investigation wing has filed a confidential report to the finance ministry.
Sources said that several IPL players could have been involved. Sources have also indicated that phone conversations have also been recorded and that possible questioning of IPL players could happen in this regard.
BCCI-Modi deal
In what seems to be a compromise between the two warring factions in the Indian cricket board, BCCI chief Shashank Manohar is likely to take over as the interim IPL chief while Lalit Modi will continue as the BCCI vice-president.
According to CNN-IBN, sources say, Modi has agreed not to move court challenging the validity of the April 26 IPL Governing Council meeting, convened by Manohar. In return, Modi will not be suspended from the BCCI and will continue as its vice-president. However, Modi remains firm on not attending the April 26 meeting.
Lalit Modi on Friday urged the BCCI to give him just five days to prepare answer for all the questions in lieu of his five year long services. “I have worked for you for five years... Give me just five days to prepare answers to all the questions,” Modi communicated to BCCI, sources close to him said.
Meanwhile, Modi has dismissed all allegations of match-fixing in the Indian Premier League as completely baseless.

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