Cricket wont get any more free hits in Maharashtra. Rapped by the Bombay high court and the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) for the entertainment tax waiver on the IPL matches, the Maharashtra government has finally decided to levy the duty henceforth.
And not just the IPL matches played in state but all other cricket encounters will attract the applicable entertainment duty. However, the state cannot recover the loss it has incurred on account of tax waiver for the last three years including two seasons of the IPL played in India.
The state cabinet gave its seal of approval to the tax proposal. However, the state has lost quite a significant amount due to the tax waiver it granted for the IPL encounters and other cricket matches played at Mumbai and Nagpur in 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons.
The CAG, in its report for the year ended March 31, 2009, has pointed out that the state lost around Rs 25 crore on account of the entertainment tax waiver in 2008 which marked the inaugural season of IPL. The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had initially decided to levy the duty on IPL matches.
In fact, a cabinet meeting held in March approved this proposal and chief minister Ashok Chavan was learnt to have favoured it. However, the Congress apparently buckled under pressure from coalition partner NCP which holds the finance ministry. Mr Chavan later attempted to play down the controversy saying the government had never taken a decision to tax the IPL matches.
But even as the government thought that it had weathered the opposition storm over the tax exemption, the IPL controversy involving the bid for the Kochi franchise broke out.