Lalit Modi

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Lalit Modi

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


A timeline


1. The Times of India, Jun 15, 2015

2. The Hindu, June 20, 2015

The rise and fall of Lalit Modi in Indian cricket over a period of two decades mediated by an intricate network of politicians, cricket administrators and businessmen

A chronology of Lalit Modi's rise and fall over the years

1994 : First link with cricket. Becomes pan-India director of ESPN on 10-year contract. Sushma Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal is already Lalit Modi’s lawyer.

1999  : Formally entered the cricket administration from Himachal Pradesh but had an ugly fall-out with local officials and was subsequently removed the very next year.

2004  : Modi ousted the famous Rungta brothers -- Kishore and Kishen -- from Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA).

2004  : An anti-Dalmiya quartet is formed with Sharad Pawar as the face and backed by N Srinivasan, Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi. Pawar fails to beat opposition candidate Ranbir Mahendra, who won due to outgoing president Dalmiya's 'presidential casting vote'.

2005  : At 40, Modi was elected as the youngest of the five vice-presidents in BCCI.

2005  : As chairman of BCCI's marketing committee, Modi signed a multi-million dollar kit sponsorship deal with apparel giants Nike and struck lucrative TV broadcast deals.

2008 : Modi floated the cash-rich Indian Premier League. BCCI appointed him Chairman and Commissioner of IPL with absolute powers.

2009  : Shifted the IPL-II to South Africa after Lok Sabha election dates were announced.

2009 : Modi lost RCA presidential elections against IAS officer Sanjay Dixit in one of the most acrimonious state cricket body elections.

2010  : Modi, in a series of tweets, revealed about the share-holding pattern of Kochi Tuskers Kerala and involvement of late Sunanda Pushkar, who owned 'Sweat Equity' of around Rs 70 crore in the franchise. Modi also writes the involvement of Shashi Tharoor and the junior minister was forced to resign owing to controversy.

2010  : Government agencies started their probe against Modi and BCCI on various issues with regards to financial irregularities in 2009 IPL.

2010  : BCCI suspended Modi immediately after the end of the IPL-III finals on charges of financial irregularity.

2010  : Fled from the country to seek asylum in the United Kingdom citing threats from Underworld. ED issued 'Blue Corner' notice against him. His passport was revoked.

2011  : BCCI formed a probe committee at its AGM which issued a disciplinary action against Modi. The Committee was headed by BJP heavyweight Arun Jaitley and had Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia as a member. The third member was the erstwhile BCCI president N Srinivasan.

2012  : Modi admitted that he had a hand in "rigging Andrew Flintoff's auction" to help Srinivasan in roping in the England all-rounder for CSK in 2009 IPL. Srinivasan rubbished allegations.

2013 : IPL disciplinary committee headed by Arun Jaitley recommended life ban for Modi and subsequently banned by the BCCI. Modi took legal recourse.

2014 : Elected president of Rajasthan Cricket Association and immediately RCA is banned by BCCI as it withdraws all financial support. The matter is still sub-judice.

2014  : On August 27, a Delhi HC Division Bench restored Modi's passport.

2015: British newspaper Sunday Times does an exposé of Keith Vaz’s favours for Lalit Modi. Indian media picks up story. Skeletons tumble out.

Early life

The Times of India, Jun 20 2015

Vineet Upadhyay

When Red Rose got Lalit Modi expelled from school

The controversy around the first commissioner of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, continues. Alumni of St Joseph's College here, where Modi was a student of Class X in 1980, remember that he had played truant to watch a movie, despite stringent warnings from school authorities. Rameshwar Sah, 48, owner of a departmental store in Nainital, recalls, “Lalit said he would be watching a football match, but went off to watch the Rajesh KhannaPoonam Dhillon starrer Red Rose at Capitol Cinema.Three other boys went with him. When Brother CG Fernandez, the principal, found out, he called their parents and expelled all of them.“

Sah said the school would not allow Modi back into classes after August 1980. He was, however, allowed to take his board examinations.

Fernandez, who was principal from 1979-81, remembered the boy who played truant. “He wasn't so great with studies, but good in sports,“ he said, declining to say more.

Sah remembers that Modi was a man of many parts ­ he could foretell what might sell, he says. “He would talk of how English films, dubbed in Hindi and other Indian languages, might find a good audience,“ he said.

In 1993, Modi set up Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN), a 10-year joint venture with Walt Disney Pictures, to broadcast Disney's content in India.

Not everyone who re membered Modi, however, was keen to speak about him.“The past is past, and I do not wish to comment ­ I was not the head of the institution at that time. I know Modi studied here from 1976-80,“ said Peter Emanuel, present principal of St Joseph's.

Another classmate, not wishing to be named, giggled as he recalled Modi: “He was a great `manager' even as a boy. He seldom did the work assigned to him. He doled out Rs 100 to other classmates to do his work.“

Jaitley praise tied to Didi's silence?

Finance minister Arun Jaitley showcased Bengal in the US India Business Council meet held at New York while commenting on the growing consensus of fast tracking development in India. Addressing the USIBC meet, Jaitley named Bengal and complimented the state for the investment conference it held in January, 2015. He said it was good to see the positive mood and note the changes taking place even in a Left-oriented state. Jaitley's comment has strengthened speculation over the developing chemistry between Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee while the two parties cross swords in Bengal. Congress member Abdul Mannan sees Jaitley's appreciation as a quid pro quo to Trinamool's silence in the Lalit Modi-Sushma Swaraj-Vasundhara Raje controversy.However, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member, Derek O'Brien, refused to read politics into the finance minister's statements at the USIBC meet.

Criminal history

The Times of India, Jun 15 2015

Ex-Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi faces several probes from several agencies, all connected to the cricket league, for the last five years but nothing concrete has been found against him since the businessman has never made himself available for formal questioning:

Enforcement Directorate is probing foreign exchange violations under FEMA to the tune of Rs 425 crore in the IPL TV rights deal awarded to World Sports Group (WSG) by Lalit Modi.First, the media rights were awarded to WSG for 10 years but it was later given to Multi Screen Media (MSM).ED's initial probe suggested that Modi might be a beneficiary of the Rs 125 crore paid by MSM to WSG Mauritius (WSGM). After attending just one interrogation session with the income tax department and ED in Mumbai, Modi fled to the UK in May 2010 ED is also probing Modi and others in connection with an alleged transaction of Rs 90 crore with International Management Group, a UK-based company

The income tax department is probing a payment of Rs 80 crore made for the purchase of a private jet, used by Modi and his family members extensively during IPL matches. The aircraft purchase was reportedly linked to the WSG contract

Chennai police registered a case against Modi and six others on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and falsification of accounts in the deal related to WSG

A blue corner notice is still pending against Modi at all Indian portsairports, according to which if he is traced anywhere, he should be handed over to the ED

While running the IPL, Modi got threats from the underworld. In March 2009, Mumbai police arrested and interrogated Rashid Malabari, a hitman, who revealed that there was a plan to kill the ex-IPL chief, his wife Minal and son Ruchir. This was later confirmed by the Intelligence Bureau, which heard Chhota Shakeel and Dawood Ibrahim discussing the plan

3 cricketers who were bribed

The Times of India, Jun 27, 2015

Lalit Modi names two Indian cricketers who were bribed

Controversial former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi has alleged that two leading Indian cricketers and a West Indian player had been bribed by an Indian real estate tycoon, who is also a bookmaker.

London-based Modi tweeted a letter he claims to have written to International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson in June 2013, passing on "some information that I have just got." He told Richardson that he could pass the same to the anti-corruption and security unit of the ICC if he thought so fit.

Modi then went on to name the three players, who he claims were in close contact with the real estate tycoon who was also named in the letter.

Modi stated that he had been informed by "reliable sources" that the tycoon had paid in cash and kind to the three players. He concluded by saying that "I hope this is not true but if true it could mean more are involved."

People who stood by Lalit Modi

The Times of India, June 27, 2015

Former Supreme Court judge, the late Justice UC Banerjee, had given pro-Lalit Modi opinions for extending his stay in the UK, India Today television channel has now accessed the legal documents showing that two other former Supreme Court judges did the same.

Moreover, former Mumbai police commissioner RD Tyagi and senior journalist Prabhu Chawla appeared in the court as a witness for Modi along with his family members.

While Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje may have batted for Lalit Modi in a British court, India Today channel has found that Justice Jeevan Reddy and Justice SB Sinha - a Supreme Court judge between 2002 and 2009, also provided legal opinion in Lalit Modi's favour to have his passport restored.

Late Justice Banerjee, who headed the Godhra train burning inquiry commission, had batted for Modi's extended stay in the UK on grounds that he had not been convicted, cases against him were weak, and the then government was hounding him. He had also noted that Lalit Modi's life was in danger in India.

In his opinion, Sinha wrote that the Regional Passport Office ought not to have considered allegations of irregularities in IPL when Lalit Modi was chairman while impounding his passport since this was beyond the jurisdiction of the RPO or the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In his opinion given in October 2013 Justice Reddy said that since Lalit Modi had made himself available for video-conferencing, the Enforcement Directorate had no power to insist on his physical presence before them, a point made by Banerjee too.

When contacted, Tyagi said that he did not want to comment on this. Meanwhile, Prabhu Chawla said, "I didn't give a signed statement in favour of Lalit Modi's residency. My statement was in relation to whether he was a victim or not. I said yes he was singled out and out of jealousy of powerful people he became a victim."

The mystry of IPL

The Times of India', June 24, 2015

IPL has caused as much disservice to the game of cricket as it has brought enormous wealth to Modi’s charmed coterie of friends, businessmen, cricketers, movie stars, politicians and fixers at large. They made a huge killing out of what was once a great sport and is now just another fixture on our entertainment calendar.

Rumours have it that some IPL games attract betting in excess of Rs 800 crore. Much of this happens underground since betting on cricket is illegal in India. The rest happens, I guess, on international betting sites where no one really knows where the money comes from. But no one bothers too much about legality and ethics since the IPL is barely seen as a sport any more. I doubt if Modi intended it to remain one. That is why he chose the kind of investors he did. It is, you will notice, clearly designed as a money making device; no one cares too much about the game’s integrity. The chase is on to make it even bigger, richer, more glamorous. Modi may have gone but his spirit still rules the IPL.

It is not just Modi. Big money has this curious habit, wherever it goes, of bringing in its wake a havoc of politics, scams, dirty deals and a sharp decline in ethics. And the IPL, a synonym for big money in cricket, is no exception to the rule. The gentleman’s game is now rampant with unholy rumours about how some of the most respected names in cricket are making money both on and off the field. While these rumours may be, well, just rumours they end up ruining the credibility of a game that was once looked upon as a symbol of our national pride.

Lalit Modi is a remarkable man. All he touches he turns to dross. In his desperate and ugly rush for fame, success, glamour and money he has run roughshod over many reputations over the years and the last week was no exception. Sushma Swaraj, once a major figure in politics and now a low key foreign minister quite content doing sterling backroom work for a Prime Minister focussed on new diplomatic initiatives, suddenly found herself bang in the midst of an entirely avoidable controversy that almost claimed her job. And all because she had asked the British Government to issue Modi travel papers to go to Portugal to be beside his ailing wife and sign some urgent release papers for her surgery. It now transpires, or so claims Times Now, that the papers were never really required by the medical facility.

As we all know, Modi lives in London because he claims his life is under threat in India. But there’s another story too which says he is there to sidestep some pretty nasty investigations going on into his conduct as the IPL chief, which involves serious financial issues that could invoke FEMA. The Enforcement Directorate, claim some, is hot on his heels. But Modi being Modi and having his own influential coterie has managed to successfully evade these investigations for years now and live the good life in London from where he continues to give interviews to Indian media, boasting about his imminent comeback into cricketing limelight.

The comeback has been a long time coming and people thought that, like some other grand escapees (who we all know and I would rather not name) that Lalit Modi has successfully managed to stay out of the reach of the short arm of the Indian law enforcers. And they were right. Not only did he manage to stay firmly ensconced there, periodically posting pictures of himself with out of work celebrities like Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell, to remind us that that he’s still rich and famous and hobnobs with newsmakers while the investigations against him here lie in coma. The change in Government has made no difference. He has friends everywhere. And these friends are currently in the spotlight, embarrassed by his shenanigans.

Heaven knows how many more will be dragged into this sordid tale. But Modi has clearly declared war on all fronts. In a recent tweet, he warns about collateral damage. I hear from those who know him well that he loves scoring brownie points just to prove how well connected he is to everyone in power and he doesn’t really care if the people he names go down with him. The opposition (and particularly the Congress) is making a big deal about not letting Parliament function till those he has named are punished. It would be funny if Modi now does a u-turn and reveals how his Congress connections helped him stay out of trouble for so long.

In our desperate hurry to embarrass the Government, we must not lose sight of the real issue. That is: If Lalit Modi is really guilty, why is he not being brought back? Is it to protect him or to keep his influential friends out of the scandal? Does the man know too much?

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