The IPL-Shashi Tharoor Tragedy (2)

Every once in a while, a blogger gets a whiff of scandal and just lays into it. E.g. supremo (my Latin fails me): Prem Panicker, and his exhaustive, excellently-linked post on the Shashi Tharoor debacle. He repeats the points I made here, but does so much better and clearly reads more than I do. As they say in India, this stuff is “too good”:

Buzz says Pranab Mukherjee had a falling out with the MoS [that is, Shashi Tharoor], and the latter, feeling pilloried, bit back hard. Miffed that a junior talked back to him [a bigger crime than corruption, in Pranab-da’s scheme of things — he is used to hectoring his colleagues unchallenged], the FM is understood to have put his foot down and demanded Tharoor’s head on a platter. The MoS is expendable; at a time of rising prices and with various finance related bills due in Parliament, the FM was not.

[In a case of supreme irony, CNN-IBN is as I write this quoting the Finance Ministry as saying Tharoor did not benefit from the Kochi deal. True — he could not have, since there is as yet nothing to benefit from. The damn franchise has to get up and running for there to be any monetary benefits. At a larger level, it is faintly ridiculous for Mukherjee to take the lead in getting Tharoor out, and then have his ministry give him a clean chit].

Panicker also sounds the right notes on media criticism, noting that so far, articles have focused on Tharoor but not the bigger questions surrounding the IPL and the BCCI administration (e.g., why does Maharasthra waive the entertainment tax for the IPL? Why does it receive subsidies when it purportedly makes so much money?). Here in the United States, the newspapers pay enormous amounts of attention to new stadium deals; they almost always involve shady developers, questionable contracts and tax breaks and few tangible benefits for host communities (the same can be said for the Olympics). But in India, Panicker writes, people just aren’t paying attention.

And finally, he links to this Economic Times article that had all of India talking this week:

NEW DELHI: ‘Mr Lalit Modi has had a trail of failed ventures and defaults till four years back but has a lifestyle now that includes a private jet, a luxury yacht and a fleet of Mercedes S class and BMW cars all acquired in the last three years.’

Thus opens a highly confidential and explosive report by the income-tax department that has been in the possession of the government for six months now but formed the basis of any action only on Thursday evening after a raging controversy over secret ownerships and sweetheart deals in the Indian Premier League, or IPL, stalled both houses of Parliament.

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2 thoughts on “The IPL-Shashi Tharoor Tragedy (2)

  1. KVA Iyer says:

    For entrepreneurs, sport is merely one of several money spinning opportunities. Indian Premier League (IPL) is an ingenious forum where cricket players and business interests join to reap huge monetary gain. Because quality sport has good demand, the organisers make it doubly attractive by subtly combining the sport extravaganza with a bit of sensuality. This attracts sport enthusiasts who can afford to pay hefty price for entrance to watch the events.

    Public subsidy lifts private gains to unimaginable level. This happens in India where subsidies targeted to the poor and needy for food, fuel, health and education are closely monitored with the objective of minimising subsidy.

    In this context there is justification in the demand from certain political parties and publicmen for levy of normal charge for use of public space, tax and cost recovery. In other words IPL participants must pay Income Tax as they are involved in business of sport. Similarly, public stadium must levy full rent and the government must levy entertainment tax. The cost of security must be recovered from the organisers.

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