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Old November 13th, 2000, 06:31 PM
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After the match fixing scandal, now we have a new TV scam regarding broadcast rights given to some TV channels.

It ceases to amaze me how deep the scandal runs into all apects of Cricket. In a way, CBI is doing spring cleaning and I hope that this time the house is set in order.


Read on for more details.....
NEW DELHI: Sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday raided the premises and offices of former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, a host of former Doordarshan officials and a few private TV companies in connection with an alleged scam in deals for telecast rights of cricket and tennis tournaments.

The Doordarshan officials include K S Sharma, former director-general; K Kunikrishnan, former deputy director-general; Rakesh Bahadur, former deputy director-general C&S; Sanjive Dutta, former DD director (finance); PK Seth, deputy director-general (finance); and Anurag Mishra, DD controller (sales). The private TV companies whose offices were raided were WorldTel, Stracon, UTV and WorldTel Sports.

The raids were conducted simultaneously in Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore. Bank passbooks, diaries and documents were seized from these officials. However, DD has made no official statement on these raids since Prasar Bharti chief Rajeeva Ratna Shah is in Mumbai. He is expected to be back in the Capital on Tuesday.

According to the CBI, Sharma, Kunikrishnan and Bahadur showed undue favour to a Delhi-based firm and cheated the government in giving the marketing rights for the French Open in 1997 to this firm without any competitive bidding. Though DD had bought the telecast rights for $90,000, no bids were called by these DD officials and the rights were offered to a firm on a single-offer basis in a single day, showing it as a very urgent matter.

Similarly, it is alleged that Seth, Mishra and others awarded the marketing rights of Wimbeldon 1997 to a firm by "dishonestly" managing the bids and showing undue favour.

In cricket, CBI sources say DD officials cheated the government to the tune of Rs 3.75 crore in purchasing the telecast rights of the 1997 Independence Cup. One company was unduly favoured for telecast rights, while the marketing right was given without calling any bids.

Bungling, says the CBI, was also committed in the purchase of telecast rights for the 1998 ICC Knock-Out tournament by dishonestly enhancing DD's bid and causing a loss of Rs 21 crore. DD officials had also delayed the purchase of telecast rights for the 1999 World Cup from the England & Wales Cricket Board. Since DD didn't submit its offer till the last date, the telecast rights went to another firm for all 42 matches for $12 million. But DD officials later bought the telecast rights for 11 matches for $6 million, whereas the original bid was coming cheaper.

The raid follows clearance from the CBI's legal cell to its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). According to the sources, the ACU had been scrutinising the files relating to the telecast rights for the 1996 and 1999 cricket World Cup for some time. It is believed that the agency will soon be lodging a preliminary inquiry, or a regular, FIR in this case.

In the case of cricket, the CBI is mainly investigating two aspects -- the allotment of TV rights from 1996 onwards and whether any money was made by middlemen, event managers and other officials. The agency is alleging that Doordarshan gave the television rights to private channels despite having the wherewithal to do the job itself.

According to the sources, the CBI got a lot of useful information from former BCCI chief, I S Bindra, who, on May 15, had submitted a personal report on the allotment of TV rights to the agency.

This is the second raid at Dalmiya's house and office. The earlier raid was conducted by IT officials on July 20.

According to the sources, CBI's raid was planned in advance and a team of officials from Delhi had reached Calcutta on Sunday. The raids began early in the morning and continued throughout the day.

The sources say that Dalmiya and Mark Mascarenhas of WorldTel are the key people who benefited from the telecast right deals. It is alleged that Dalmiya sought to help Mascarenhas' company through DD.




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