Maharashtra Minister Upset Over 'Concession' to IPL

Maharashtra Minister Upset Over 'Concession' to IPL
Under attack from Opposition for exempting Indian Premier League matches from entertainment tax, Ashok Chavan government was faced with an awkward situation when a senior minister questioned the "concession" to the cash-rich body.

"I have taken oath... I won't speak on how the state government is functioning. It is difficult to fathom as to exactly for whom is the government, which gives concession to Indian Premier League (IPL), working," Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam said at a Congress workers' training camp here yesterday.

Asked about Kadam's remarks, Chief Minister Chavan, who was also present at the programme, said "the government has not given any concession to IPL."

"I will ask Kadam this when I meet him," Chavan said when asked what prompted the Minister's outburst.

"The question (of exemption) arises only if we first charge them and then exempt them. We didn't charge them in the first place," Chavan said.

Finance Minister Sunil Tatkare's announcement last month that there will be no entertainment tax on the IPL matches prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party to warn of legal action.

BJP alleged that the government was favouring the Indian Premier League and warned it will move the court if the matches are not taxed.

"Did IPL seek a tax waiver? Why is the state government, reeling under a severe debt burden, favouring IPL," state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.

"Is Tatkare, who belongs to NCP, trying to appease his party chief Sharad Pawar, president of Mumbai Cricket Association," Bhandari asked.

"Chavan should explain if the state cabinet has decided to give a tax waiver to IPL," Bhandari said.

The state government's stance is in stark contrast to that of Delhi and Punjab governments which have charged entertainment tax on IPL matches, he said adding "Punjab government has in fact asked IPL to also foot the security bill."

He claimed that in January, the cabinet decided to levy a 25 per cent entertainment tax on IPL ticket sales and the state was expected to earn around Rs 12 crore.
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