Dutt steps in to solve row over Champions Trophy

Published: Monday, March 21, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:With the International Cricket Council (ICC) threatening to relocate next year's Champions Trophy to Pakistan, the union sports minister Sunil Dutt today (March 21, 2005) stepped in to resolve the issue backing a proposal that called for tax exemption for the tournament.

In a letter to the Union finance minister P Chidambaram sent today, Dutt said that if India hosted the "prestigious" tournament next year, it would be the first major cricketing event to be hosted by India since the 1996 World Cup and the tournament would "definitely promote the game further in thecountry."

Dutt drew the attention of the finance minister to the letter written by ICC chief Ehsan Mani and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Ranbir Singh Mahendra on February 14 seeking tax exemption for the biennial event, sources in the sports ministry said.

"As informed by BCCI, recognised sports bodies were enjoying exemption as per section 10 (23) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 till 2002-03. On April 1, section 10 (23) was removed through Finance Act, 2002," Dutt wrote in his letter to Chidamabram.

"The request of the BCCI is for reintroduction of the said provision enabling the BCCI to enjoy the benefits of tax exemption.

"Keeping in view the above, I recommend the proposal from sports angle," Dutt wrote.

ICC has given India a deadline till May to decide on tax waiver failing which the tournament would be relocated to Pakistan.

ICC chief Mani has already met both Dutt and Chidambaram to press for the exemption.

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