BCCI’s TV producer ‘evades’ customs duty,DRI could seize equipment

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI),which is grappling with the spot-fixing controversy in the Indian Premier League,could face fresh trouble on another IPL front as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is planning to seize the equipment of the tournament’s TV producer for allegedly evading customs duty.

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | New Delhi | Published:May 21, 2013 1:43 am

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI),which is grappling with the spot-fixing controversy in the Indian Premier League,could face fresh trouble on another IPL front as the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is planning to seize the equipment of the tournament’s TV producer for allegedly evading customs duty.

The cricket board had in January outsourced the production of the IPL and other matches in the country for the next three years to Eastern Broadcast Solutions Pvt Ltd (EBSPL),Mumbai,a subsidiary of Singapore’s Broadcast Solutions Pte Ltd (BSPL),at a cost of Rs 93 crore.

According to a note sent to the Finance Ministry,the DRI has found that EBSPL had apparently imported the equipment to Arshiya Free Trade and Warehousing Zone,a special economic zone in Navi Mumbai.

This equipment was allegedly removed from the SEZ on the pretext of giving a “demo” and used for producing IPL matches,the DRI has alleged.

The agency last week wrote to customs formations,the SEZ commissioner in Navi Mumbai and to EBSPL asking them not to allow re-export of the equipment.

The DRI action could follow immediately after the IPL final match on May 26,sources said.

Reached for comment,Sandeep Mehta,a spokesperson for EBSPL said: “Whatever DRI has written to us is between DRI and us. No further comments.”

The DRI probe has allegedly found that BSPL “was earlier importing similar equipment on payment of customs duty and were claiming drawback (benefits) on the re-export of the same (sic)”.

EBSPL had won the BCCI’s tender to produce matches in India by quoting Rs 18 crore less than the second bidder.

The DRI has alleged that the “purpose for removal of the equipment has been suppressed so as to avail the benefit of SEZ rules for customs duty exemption (sic).”

While the duty evasion is currently pegged at Rs 4.75 crore,it is estimated that the duty component could go up to Rs 16 crore,besides penalty.

In the contract between the BCCI and EBSPL,a copy of which was reviewed by The Indian Express,EBSPL had given an undertaking that it would abide by Indian laws and pay applicable duties. The contract specifies that any violation could lead to cancellation.

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