The first Congress link in the IPL scandal seems set to emerge. Film star Shah Rukh Khan, who is already under scrutiny by the taxman, seems to have been a significant investor in BAG Glamour, a company owned by Rajiv Shukla, a Congress Rajya Sabha member and member of the Indian Premier League's governing council.
Documents available with DNA show that Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri, owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders, invested around Rs10 crore in the media company owned by Shukla and his wife in the financial year 2007-08, when the bidding for the IPL franchises took place.
The evidence is that the Khans invested Rs10 crore and picked up 10% equity in BAG Glamour, a subsidiary of BAG Films & Media Limited.
Since BAG Glamour is a cent per cent subsidiary of BAG Films, nothing much is known about the other investors.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong in Khan and his wife investing in the company owned by the Shuklas.
What is strange is the timing: the Khans invested Rs10 crore in the company owned by Shukla’s wife Anuradha Prasad in January-February 2008, precisely when the bidding process for IPL-I was ending.
The Khans got the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in January 2008 through their company Red Chillies Entertainment Private Limited, which is owned by Gauri Khan.
Apart from the timing, another strange aspect that drew the interest of the investigators was the fact that the Khans chose to invest in a company that was registering heavy losses.
BAG Films incurred a loss of over Rs90 crore during financial year 2007-08. Documents show that the cumulative losses of BAG Films and its subsidiary had touched Rs400 crores until March 2009.
Further, Rajiv Shukla is not some minor official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but the chairman of its finance committee and member of the IPL governing council. It is the governing council that awarded the IPL franchises to the various owners, including Khan.
A source in the BCCI said Shukla never disclosed his “conflict of interest”.
When IPL-I was launched in 2008, none smelt a rat in the friendship between Shukla and Khan. It was Shukla who introduced the superstar to the Gandhis. Riding on his success and flush with funds, Khan was looking for investment opportunities and the IPL came in handy.
It looks like the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance government it heads are going to face a lot of heat on Monday as Shukla seems to be the first Congress leader to emerge as a direct beneficiary of the IPL.