New Delhi: The Income Tax department has given a clean chit to the five banned domestic cricketers, who were involved in the IPL spot-fixing fiasco, from any financial misconduct or receiving kickbacks in order to fix matches. The department, which conducted an investigation into the financial transactions of the five players for charges of spot-fixing, found that the cricketers have not received any pecuniary benefit in cash or by the way of fund deposits in their accounts.
The five players - TP Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali - were also questioned by the I-T sleuths at their special unit office in the national capital after a TV channel aired the sting operation.
According to sources privy to the development, the department is expected to submit a report in this regard soon and would also inform the Sports Ministry.
The Sports Ministry had asked the Department of Revenue under the Finance Ministry and the I-T to probe alleged financial irregularities in the cash-rich IPL, including in the latest edition of the tournament.
The I-T sleuths also conducted a scan on the bank accounts, investments and other financial avenues of these five cricketers and their close relatives, in order to probe if any kickbacks were illegally received by them to fix IPL matches. "They are clean, at least, on the illegal gratification and money front," sources said.
The department, however, is continuing with its probe against various IPL franchises. The BCCI had on Saturday slapped a life ban on pacer TP Sudhindra and handed lighter punishments to the other four other players who were also exposed in the TV sting operation.
While Srivastava was banned for five years, Mishra, Yadav and Bali were debarred for a year each.
While the BCCI had cracked the whip against the five players for a variety of reasons like "receiving a consideration to spot-fix" an IPL match and indulging in "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging to bring the game into disrepute", sources said the I-T probe was specifically gauged to find evidence of transfer of any illegal cash or any other monetary benefits.
The statements of the players, according to sources, and the inputs gathered about them corroborated that their finances were not illegal.
The I-T department officials also went through the footage of the sting operation conducted before questioned the cricketers.