Friday, October 22, 2010

CWG broadcast rights to illegal firm? Prasar Bharati overlooked objections

The Income Tax department investigating the Commonwealth Games broadcasting rights scam

The Income Tax department investigating the Commonwealth Games broadcasting rights scam seems to have found that London-based SIS Live was given Rs. 246 crore contract despite doubts raised about its legal status.  Sources say that the SIS Live registration number was found to be forged during verifications. Income tax sleuths have also apparently found that SIS Live has no valid service tax number. Sources say according to the findings of the Income Tax department, SIS Live came into being only in January 2010, four months after the bidding formalities were over. NDTV has learnt that the I-T department suspects that SIS Live is a fly-by-night company set up only to get the CWG contract. And the story does not end there, what is equally shocking is that the Prasar Bharati boss seems to have been in a great hurry to clear the payment of most of the contract fee to SIS Live, which got 80 per cent of the fee despite doubts about its legal status even before the Games ended.

Sources say the Prasar Bharati member (Finance) had in an internal note dated September 15 raised doubts about SIS Live's legal status. But the Prasar Bharati chief overruled it and directed that 80 per cent of the contract fee be made immediately. Sources say the I-T department sent a letter to Prasar Bharati on October 6 asking it to freeze all future payments.  NDTV has learnt that I-T sleuths found that SIS Live has violated several conditions including outsourcing the work to a company called Zoom Communications. Sources say that the I-T department found Zoom Communications operating from the same premises in Delhi as SIS Live. Meanwhile, with a scam each day being reported on the Commonwealth Games, it won't be long before government bureaucrats will be targetted. Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy assured that anybody caught napping will be probed.


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