BCCI decides to remove Lalit Modi
NEW DELHI: Mr Lalit Modi has had a trail of failed ventures and defaults till four years back but has a lifestyle now that includes a private jet, a luxury yacht and a fleet of Mercedes S class and BMW cars all acquired in the last three years.’
Thus opens a highly confidential and explosive report by the Indian income-tax department that has been in the possession of the government for six months now but formed the basis of any action only on Thursday evening after a raging controversy over secret ownerships and sweetheart deals in the Indian Premier League, or IPL, stalled both houses of Parliament.
Highly-placed sources in the IT department and the Congress party said that Mr Modi has been on the government radar for quite sometime. The alleged opaqueness with which he conducted the multi-billion dollar cricket tournament and the manner in which he took on home minister P Chidambaram in 2009 seem to have resulted in a detailed enquiry into his activities by the I-T department.
The report a startling picture of the alleged activities of the controversial IPL commissioner, ranging from his manipulation of land deals in Rajasthan and the existence of a maze of shell companies and offshore entities used to route payments and equity stakes worth hundreds of crores of rupees. The report also makes the startling allegation that Mr Modi—through his associates—was ‘involved’ in ‘betting’, while “insider information and outcome fixing of IPL matches were hinted at”.
What will come as most disturbing to cricket fans is that the report suggests pervasive betting and outcome fixing in the IPL. According to the report, Modi himself is involved through Samir Thukral, a Delhi-based “page 3 personality” with an “opulent lifestyle despite having no apparent source of income”.
The report alleges that Modi has silent ownership in three IPL teams Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab.
Incidentally, Rajasthan Royals won the first IPL tournament in 2008. The report also says Kolkata Knight Rider’s co-owner Jay Mehta, who is married to actor Juhi Chawla, is “partly fronting” for Lalit Modi. Industrialist Jay Mehta denies these allegations.
According to an official response from KKR, the team is wholly-owned by actor Shah Rukh Khan and Mr Mehta and there are no other shareholders.
The report claims that Modi owns a stake in Kings XI Punjab through Akash Arora, owner of Delhi-based BPO Netlink Blue. Arora is a part-owner of the team along with Ness Wadia and Mohit Burman, according to the report.