For the second straight day, the crackdown on the Indian Premier League continues.
Three Income Tax teams visited the Sahara office in Aliganj, Lucknow on Thursday. Sahara had won the bid for the Pune IPL team in the recent auction of new teams. Sahara sources say the Income Tax officials surveyed the office to check papers in connection with the IPL controversy.
The I-T department sleuths also visited the offices of Royal Challengers Sports Private Ltd - the franchisee for Royal Challengers Bangalore Team - in Bangalore.
A statement from the RCB said that they are cooperating fully with the team and are providing whatever information or details being sought.
Meanwhile, Delhi Daredevils team owners, the GMR Group, has confirmed about income tax investigation. They say the management is cooperating with the officials.
On Wednesday, Income Tax officials had launched a nationwide crackdown in eight cities, searching offices of IPL broadcasters, the eight existing IPL franchises and the new Kochi franchise, which has been at the centre of the IPL controversy.
In Kolkata, the Income Tax department, which surveyed the Kolkata Knight Riders and Gameplan offices yesterday, has issued summons to both entities to come to its office and explain details in papers confiscated from their premises.
A senior Income Tax official had told reporters last night that they had found "incriminating evidence" of irregularities.
But the Income Tax Director General in Kolkata has said this is a routine part of the survey launched yesterday. Gameplan is a sports events management company closely associated with KKR.
After the coordinated inquiries in Kolkata and other cities that are home to IPL franchises yesterday, the Income Tax department will now also monitor the IPL awards ceremony in Mumbai to look into the money spent on it.
The contract given to the event management company and that for the television rights will also be scrutinised.
The IPL awards ceremony will be held in Mumbai on Friday, April 23.
The source of the funding of the IPL and those connected with it, including celebrity team owners, are being carefully scrutinised by the government, which is trying to locate the deep, deep pockets of what's been dubbed the Indian Paisa League.
Those close to Lalit Modi, the IPL Commissioner who triggered the IPL explosion with a series of tweets on the ownership of one of its teams, say that the tax questions are aimed at disconcerting team-owners, who have so far supported Modi in his battle to stay on as IPL chairman. But there are enough people who argue there is no hidden agenda; this is what the government promised in Parliament - uncovering legal violations and corruption - in the billion dollar league.
Modi himself was questioned on Thursday by income tax and enforcement directorate officials at the hotel where he stays in Mumbai - the second time in 24 hours.