Probe ordered on tax breaks of Tendulkar, Gavaskar


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New Delhi : Income tax exemptions claimed by top cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and former captain Sunil Gavaskar have come under the scanner of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the independent watchdog on government finances.

The CAG wants a reassessment of Tendulkar's income tax exemption to the tune of Rs.30.62 million (around $750,000) he had claimed for the financial years 2000-2003 under a scheme for sportspersons.

"Some cricketers have taken the benefit of exemption for some incomes, saying that it is in their capacity as sportsmen," Sudha Krishnan, principal director for audit at the CAG's office, said Monday.

"But we are saying that a portion of their income was received in endorsing products. So there shouldn't be an exemption for that," she told a hurriedly called press conference here.

Tendulkar, who is among the most popular cricketers, not just in India but also in other playing nations, paid Rs.57.5 million ($1.40 million) in taxes for 2006-07, becoming one of the top individual taxpayers in the country.

Former India skipper-turned-TV commentator Gavaskar also came under CAG's scanner for claiming tax exemption to the tune of Rs.8 million (little less than $200,000).

CAG officials said apart from Tendulkar and Gavaskar, 47 other sportspersons have also claimed questionable tax breaks.

The CAG has also turned its attention to the Indian cricket board – by far the richest sports body in the country – and wants it to explain its financial structure.