Lalit Kumar Modi: How the architect of IPL took a wrecking ball to India’s sacred relationship with cricket

Born in an affluent business family, Modi built one of the world’s biggest sporting events, became a fugitive and has reportedly dated a bollywood star.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, November 28, 2022, 10:13 PM IST
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Twitter/@LalitKModi

When Lalit Modi shared a picture with bollywood actress Sushmita Sen in July this year, announcing their relationship to the world, one of India’s most notorious financial fugitives jumped back into the spotlight. The news created buzz on social media for several weeks, and died down before reports of a possible break-up, but proved how Lalit Modi is etched in India’s collective memory. The man who created one of cricket-crazy India and possibly the world’s biggest sporting events, is now a disgraced scamster on the run, charged for money laundering and embezzlement among other offences.

Early rule breaker

Born into an affluent family in 1963, Lalit Modi was a rule-breaker since his school days, getting expelled for watching a movie under the pretext of watching a football match during his days in Nainital. Later in life, Modi used his family background to set up a joint venture with Walt Disney in 1993, and then took on the BCCI in that decade by trying to distribute sports channels that viewers would pay for. He joined the Himachal Pradesh cricket association, but was shunted after a fallout with the authorities in 1999.

Rise to power

He the emerged as a powerful force in the Rajasthan Cricket Association, thanks to his proximity to the then ruling state government. In 2005 he became the youngest among the Vice Presidents in BCCI, and laid the foundation for the IPL that was kicked off in 2008. As commissioner and chairman of IPL, Modi had absolute powers, but then lost elections for the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

Fall from grace

By 2010, he was facing a probe over financial irregularities in the IPL alongside BCCI, and was suspended because of the charges at the end of IPL’s third season. He fled the country that same year, and a blue corner notice was issued against him by the Enforcement Directorate, while his passport was also revoked.

Life on the run

In 2012, he went on to admit involvement in rigging an auction. But Modi has countered the label of a fugitive, by mentioning how no court has convicted him. As of now he remains out of the country, is named among offenders such as VIjay Mallya and Nirav Modi.

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