Lalit Modi

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Lalit Modi
Modi at IPL Players Auction.jpg
Born (1965-11-29) November 29, 1965 (age 49)
New Delhi
Spouse(s) Minal Modi
Children Three

Lalit Kumar Modi, (born 29 November 1965, Delhi, India) is the first commissioner of cricket's Indian Premier League (IPL) which was rated as one of the biggest innovations in India this century.[1] After launching and running IPL for 3 years he was found guilty of committing acts of misconduct and indiscipline resulting in his removal and subsequent lifetime ban by the BCCI. He denies all wrongdoing and blames the current BCCI administration for creating sham blue ribbon committees to pass judgements on him.[2][3][4]

Best known for his stint as the Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League and the Chairman of the Champions League, between 2008 and 2010, he has also occupied the roles of Vice President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), between 2005 and September 2010, and Vice President of the Punjab Cricket Association.[5][6]

Lalit Modi is also the President and Managing Director of Modi Enterprises and the Executive Director of Godfrey Phillips India. On 6 May 2014 Lalit Modi was elected as President of Rajasthan Cricket Association.[7][8] He was impeached from this position on March 9, 2015 in a vote of confidence in which 17 out of 18 votes were cast against him.[9]

Early life[edit]

Lalit Kumar Modi was born into a wealthy and successful business family. His father Krishan Kumar Modi is Chairman of Modi Enterprises, a USD $5 billion business empire, which was founded by his grandfather, Gujar Mal Modi, who also founded the town of Modinagar.[10][11]


Lalit Modi joined Bishop Cotton School in Shimla, in 1971.[12] Modi is noted to have been a brilliant sportsman and used to play a number of sports, including cricket.[12] He studied at the prestigious Duke University in North Carolina, between 1983 and 1986.[13]

On March 1, 1985, while a sophomore, Modi was arrested on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, assault and second-degree kidnapping. On April 2, 1985, Modi and another student were indicted.[14] Modi pleaded guilty to the crime when the case was heard in the Durham County court, North Carolina and later entered a plea bargain, which resulted in a suspended two-year prison sentence.[15]


Lalit Modi is married to Minal, whom he met while studying in the USA. The couple have two children and Minal also has a daughter from a previous relationship.[citation needed]

Family security threat[edit]

In March 2009 the Mumbai police arrested and interrogated Rashid Malabari, who is reportedly the hitman of underworld don Chota Shakeel.[16] During the interrogation, Malabari revealed that the there was a plan to assassinate Lalit Modi, his wife Minal and son Ruchir.[17]

This was later cross-referenced by a government intelligence agency, who picked up a phone conversation between Chota Shakeel and his boss Dawood Ibrahim instructing him to hire four assassins to carry out the assassination of Modi and his family in either South Africa or in India.[18][19]

Business career[edit]

Modi is the President and Managing Director of Modi Enterprises, an industrial conglomerate created and run by his family.[20] Modi has been the Executive Director of Godfrey Phillips India since 1992, one of India's largest tobacco companies.[20][21] The company is jointly promoted by the Modi Enterprises and Philip Morris International.[22]

Modi Entertainment Networks[edit]

Modi started a 10-year joint venture with Walt Disney Pictures in 1993, called Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN), to broadcast some of Disney's content in India, including Fashion TV.[23][24][25]

In 1994, he became the pan-India distributor of ESPN on a ten-year contract worth $975 million. His job was to collect money from the cable companies in India in exchange for them broadcasting ESPN.[26]

The deal, gave ESS exclusive global commercial rights for all T20 Champions League seasons until 2017, making it the highest cricket tournament by value on a per game basis.[27]

Of the deal, ESS Managing Director, Manu Sawhney said: “This deal will cement our relationship with BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa and we are committed to setting new benchmarks in broadcast and distribution.” Lalit Modi, who was IPL chairman and commissioner at the time, said: “We believe this is the best commercial deal for Champions League.”[28]

In 2008 ESPN, paid almost $1 billion for the global rights to the Twenty20 Champions League, in a ten-year deal. Lalit Modi called it: “The best commercial deal for the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 season and for cricket fans across the world.” [29]

On 24 January 2008 The Indian Premier League announced the new owners of eight franchises. The base price of the auction was set at $400 million, but the final auction total reached $723.59 million. Mumbai was the most expensive team, costing $111.9 million.[30]

In October 2009, Nimbus Communications paid $431 million for the rights to India's home international games for four years, which commenced in April 2010. Although the deal didn’t include internet or radio rights, Lalit Modi indicated the deal was: "The highest price ever that will be paid per match by a broadcaster to any national board."[31]

Pune and Kochi were unveiled on 21 March 2010 as the two new franchises for the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League. Pune was bought by Sahara Adventure Sports Group for $370 million and the Kochi franchise was bought by Rendezvous Sports World Limited for $333.3 million. The auction fetched a total $723.59 million.[citation needed]

Other interests[edit]

In 2002, he launched an online lottery business in Kerala called Sixo.[32] He later went into the real estate business in Rajasthan, with a company called Amer Heritage City Construction Pvt Ltd, where his wife, Minal, is a director.[6][33]

In July 2014, he was appointed as a member of the advisory board of Aman Resorts.[34]

Cricket administration[edit]

Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association[edit]

Lalit Modi joined the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in 1999. At that time, the Association had no cricket stadium and Modi promised to build one that would be used during the Indian summer.[citation needed]

Rajasthan Cricket Association[edit]

In 2005, Lalit Modi joined the Rajasthan Cricket Association. He became a member of the Nagore district. He allegedly submitted his name to the RCA as Lalit Kumar, because he did not want to be "cut-off" like he was with the HPCA.[35]

On May 6, 2014, Lalit Modi was again elected as the President of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), the election that took place in December 2013 was postponed for results on about 6 occasions by the Supreme Court before finally announcing him the winner. Within minutes of announcing him as the winner, BCCI fearing Lalit Modi banned the entire association (RCA) and elected an adhoc body to carry administrative function of RCA. Lalit Modi was vocal against BCCI unjust, discriminatory and prejudiced move to ban the entire organization and immediately took the legal route to fight BCCI's declaration.[36]

On March 9, 2015, Lalit Modi was removed from his position of President of Rajasthan Cricket Association. He was impeached through a no-confidence motion in which 17 out of 18 members cast their vote against him. There was some controversy regarding the motion as only 18 out of 33 members were present. Modi's supporters cried foul play and alleged that they were prevented from attending the general meeting by the rival group. Rajasthan State Sports Council rejected the claim and said that those who arrived late at the RCA Academy in Jaipur for the voting were not allowed to participate. Incidents of stone pelting outside the RCA Academy were also reported. Amin Pathan succeeded Modi as the new chief of Rajasthan Cricket Academy.[37]

Board of Control for Cricket in India[edit]

In 2004, Lalit Modi ran for President of Rajasthan Cricket Association and won, which entitled him to a seat on the BCCI.[citation needed]

In 2005, Modi figured in a power struggle that resulted in Sharad Pawar, an influential politician and national cabinet minister, ousting former Indian cricket supremo and International Cricket Council chief, Jagmohan Dalmiya, in the BCCI elections. Modi was then appointed Vice-President of the BCCI.[38]

Lalit Modi was heavily involved in the commercial side of the BCCI and it is reported he was responsible for increasing the BCCI's revenues sevenfold between 2005 and 2008, with the BCCI then reporting annual revenues of over $1 billion.[39]

Punjab Cricket Association[edit]

Lalit Modi is currently the Vice President of the Punjab Cricket Association under the patronage of former BCCI President, I.S. Bindra.[40]

Indian Premier League[edit]

In 2008, Lalit Modi was instrumental in launching the IPL, a league based around Twenty20 cricket, where each team is limited to batting for a maximum of 20 overs.[41] he also engineered the Indian Premier League's move to South Africa in 2009 after the dates of the tournament clashed with the Indian general election and the Union Minister of Home Affairs, P. Chidambaram, could not commit to the security of the tournament.[41][42]

The IPL has since grown into one of the world's biggest sports, worth over $4 billion.[43] The commercial success of the Indian Premier League and Modi's control of the league has led to him being compared to Don King and Bernie Ecclestone.[43] In March 2014, Modi alleged that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had evidence regarding the existence of spot and match-fixing in the Champions League T20 cricket tournament and that world cricket's governing body was deliberately not making it public.[44]

IPL controversy[edit]

In 2010, Modi oversaw the bidding process and creation of two new teams in the Indian Premier League. Pune and Kochi were declared the new franchises. A Twitter entry by Modi declaring the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL Team allegedly breaching confidentiality agreements led to the resignation of the then Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor.[45][46]

Modi was then suspended as chairman and Commissioner of the IPL in April 2010.[47] A suspension notice and a 34-page letter stating 22 charges of impropriety were served via email to Modi. Modi publicly protested his innocence immediately after the 2010 Indian Premier League Final had been played.[43]

In March 2012 New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns successfully sued Modi for making false statements in the media about Mr Cairns. This is after Modi posted on Twitter in 2010 that Cairns had been involved in match-fixing during 2008, which was proven to be lies made up by Modi. Cairns won costs and damages.[48]

On Sept 6, 2013, BCCI's three-member committee consisting of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Arun Jaitley accused Modi of several charges of irregularities, which Modi denies.[49][50][51]

On September 25, BCCI imposed a life ban on him after a Special General Meeting held at Chennai.[52] Lalit Modi seems to be unfazed by the ban and argued that the ban doesn't mean much as the committee that banned him was a vested interest committee.[53]

In regard to financial irregularities charge, the Enforcement Directorate (ED, India's intelligence agency responsible for enforcing financial laws) has said that they have no strong evidence as of May, 2014 that proves that Lalit Modi was involved in capacity as an individual for breaking foreign exchange laws. The transaction in suspicion doesn't tie back to Modi said an ED official on condition of anonymity.[54]

Modi has been actively trying to encourage the cricketing powers to take the threat of match fixing seriously ever since he parted ways with the BCCI. In March 2014, citing the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal as an example, Modi referred to match-fixing as a potential 'death penalty for the sport’.[55]

Mihir Bose interview[edit]

On 25 November 2010, an exclusive interview between Mihir Bose and Modi was published. This was his first interview since being suspended as commissioner of the IPL and in it he rejected a number of allegations levelled against him during his career. Global news networks, newspapers and social media sources reported on the interview, including The Times of India, AFP and The Economic Times.[56]

When questioned about the $80 million that he allegedly cost the BCCI, Modi claimed that "the way I did the deals I made the BCCI billions of dollars not cost them eighty million dollars."[57] He indicated that his security agencies advised him not to return to India until the threat level reduced. Security protection has remained high since Modi moved the IPL to South Africa in 2009.[58]

Other interviews[edit]

Lalit Modi has since appeared in several media appearances and clarified the leveled allegations against him by BCCI. In an interview with BBC Hardtalk in Oct 2013, he talks about the hardships he faced realizing the IPL dream, rebutting BCCI allegations with an open criticism of BCCI and how it is damaging world cricket.[59]

In another interview with Society magazine in Mar, 2014 he was vocal about his contempt for N. Srinivasan and how Srinivasan's company India cements was virtually running the BCCI administration. Lalit Modi's tirade against N. Srinivasan is no secret which is conspicuous from his Twitter, Facebook profiles and his personal website. Article highlights Lalit Modi's tireless and relentless pursuit against his opponents who in his view are bent upon destruction of IPL and Indian cricket. Article quotes his CNBC interview which gives so much visibility about the man itself and his innate ability to go after someone or something that he deeply believes in. Lalit Modi said "I am a bad enemy to make, because I am a winner. You don't want to take such exterme [sic] steps with me, rather you want to negotiate with me, because you need to walk away".[60]

In a candid interview with Sports Illustrated in March, 2014 he reiterated the need to save Indian cricket from the current cricket administration and the expeditious need to restore transparency and faith to the cricket fans around the globe.[61]

In post RCA election result interview with MAIL TODAY's Qaiser Mohammad Ali, Lalit Modi offered to stand aside from the proceedings of BCCI until the issue of RCA ban was resolved. Modi said “If they want to take action against Lalit Modi they can do so, but they can’t do so against the RCA, which has been democratically elected and is free to do what it wants. I’m happy to step aside, in the sense that I’d not attend BCCI meetings. The RCA executive committee has already authorized the deputy president to attend BCCI meetings, till the time a solution is found,”[62]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • In October 2011, Lalit Modi was bestowed the 'Outstanding Contribution Award' at the 2011 International Sports Event Management (ISEM) Awards[63]
  • In February 2010, Sports Illustrated named Lalit Modi as the 2nd Most Powerful Person in Indian Sports[64]
  • On 28 December 2009, Business Standard named Lalit Modi as one of the ‘Game Changers of the Decade’[65]
  • On 26 September 2009, Lalit Modi was presented with the ‘Brand of the Year’ award by India Leadership Conclave[66]
  • In August 2009, Forbes magazine described the IPL as ‘the world's hottest sports league’ – a remarkable accolade from a US magazine less than a year after the IPL’s launch[67]
  • On 22 January 2009, Lalit Modi was given the ‘Sport Business Leader’ award by CBNC-TV18[68]
  • On 30 December 2008, SportzPower ranked Lalit Modi No. 1 in their annual Top 20[69]
  • On 12 November 2008, Lalit Modi was given the SportsBusiness ‘Rushmans Award For Sports Event Innovation’ by Rushmans[70]
  • On 8 November 2008, Lalit Modi was given the ‘Teacher's Achievement of the Year’ award by Beam Global Spirits & Wine[71]
  • In October 2008, Business Week ranked Lalit Modi 19th in a list of 25 most powerful global sports figures[72]
  • On 24 October 2008, Lalit Modi was awarded for ‘Excellence in Innovation’ at the Frost & Sullivan Growth Excellence Awards[73]
  • On 6 October 2008, Lalit Modi was named ‘The Most Innovative Business Leader in India’ by NDTV Profit[74]
  • On 26 September 2008, Lalit Modi was presented with ‘The Consumer Award for Transforming Cricket in India’ by CNBC Awaaz[75]
  • On 25 September 2008, Lalit Modi was named ‘Brand Builder of the Year’ by Asia Brand Conference[76]
  • In August 2008, Lalit Modi was ranked number 17 in the leading sports magazine Sports Pro’s Power List of global figures connected with sports[77]
  • In July 2008, Time magazine ranked Lalit Modi 16th in a list of the world’s best sports executives[78]
  • In July 2008 he featured on the cover of Sports Pro and was hailed as the Best Rain Maker (money maker) for any sports body in the history of sports globally[79]
  • On 21 June 2008, Lalit Modi was given the ‘Business Standard Award’ for making BCCI the Most Innovative Company in India for that year[80]
  • On 9 April 2006, Mike Atherton described Lalit Modi as arguably ‘the most important cricket administrator in the world today’[81]
  • In March 2008, Lalit Modi was listed among India's 30 most powerful people by the India Today magazine[39]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]