Lalit Kumar Modi, (Hindi: ललित कुमार मोदी; born November 29, 1963, Delhi, India) is an Indian cricket administrator and businessman. He is best known for his stint as the Chairman and Commissioner of the Indian Premier League and the Chairman of the Champions League from 2008 to 2010. He is also the Vice President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) since 2005 and Vice President of the Punjab Cricket Association. Modi is also the President and Managing Director of Modi Enterprises and the Executive Director of Godfrey Phillips India.
Lalit Modi was born in a wealthy and successful business family. His father Krishan Kumar Modi is Chairman of Modi Enterprises, a Rs.40 billion business empire which was founded by his grandfather, Raj Bahadur Gujarmal Modi(Founder of town Modinagar). He attended boarding schools like Bishop Cotton School in Shimla and others in Nainital. He disliked school, and often ran away. After his schooling, he was determined to continue with his studies in the United States. He scored well in the SAT and chose to skip the school-leaving examinations, which were required for entrance to colleges and universities in India. Subsequently, he gained a place at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Modi had claimed the top slot as the highest tax payer in the country for the 2009-2010 fiscal. He paid Rs 8 crore in the first half of the current fiscal.
Personal and family life
He is currently married to Minal, who he met while he was a student in the US and she was already married and a friend of his mother. She was nine years his senior and was then living in London with her family. Minal got a divorce, and she and Lalit were married in Mumbai despite his family’s initial disapproval.
Modi has had two children named Ruchir and Aliya from his marriage with Minal. Son Ruchir lives in Mumbai with Modi and studies at the American School of Bombay. Aliya currently studies in Switzerland. Minal has a daughter named Karima from her earlier marriage. Karima is married and lives in London presently. Karima has a daughter named Arya.
Lalit and his family sometimes travel in a private 13-seat Bombardier Challenger 300 jet. He claims to have purchased it in 2008 for $20 million (Rs. 96 crore) but the DNA (newspaper) has reported that the aircraft is owned by somebody else, and its Rs. 3 lakh/hour operating fees are paid for by the IPL.
On March 1, 1985, while a sophomore at Duke University, Modi was arrested on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. On April 2, 1985, Modi and another student were indicted on second-degree kidnapping, a misdemeanor charge of assault inflicting serious injury and conspiracy to kidnap. 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.Modi moved the court again in 1986 after he graduated from Duke University, he sought permission to move to India on health grounds. The court ordered: "As a fact the defendant has been hospitalized. His doctors indicate that a return to his home in India would facilitate his recovery… The said probation be modified to unsupervised probation. As a condition, the defendant is to perform 200 hours of community service by 1990. He may return to his home…"
An article in Tehelka magazine alleges that Modi was involved in a court case for cocaine abuse as recently as 2006 in the UAE.
Modi is the President and Managing Director of Modi Enterprises, an industrial conglomerate created and run by his family.
Modi has been the Executive Director of Godfrey Phillips India since 1992, one of India's largest tobacco company. The company is jointly promoted by the Modi Enterprises and Philip Morris International.
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
In 1994, he became the pan-India distributor of ESPN on a 5-year contract. His job was to collect money from the cable wallas in India in exchange for them broadcasting ESPN. However, ESPN was having "money issues" and took Modi to court. In 1997 ESPN established its distribution team, before the contract was due to expire in 1999.
Modi's joint venture with Walt Disney Pictures, called Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN), gave Modi a 10-year contract to distribute Disney's programmes in India. He also has a joint venture with Fashion TV
In 2002, he launched an online lottery business in Kerala called Sixo.
He later went into the real estate business in Rajasthan, with a company called Amer Heritage City Construction Pvt Ltd, his wife Minal, is a director.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association
He joined the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in 1999 (when it had no cricket stadiums) after promising to build a cricket stadium that would be used to play cricket in the Indian summer. In 2000, he started raising concerns with the way things were run in Himachal, and was booted out when Mr. Dhumbar became the Chief Minister of HP and installed his son as the President of the HP Cricket Association.
Rajasthan Cricket Association and BCCI
He then tried to join 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.
He raised concerns with the way RCA was run by the Rungta family for 40 years. There were 32 district associations in Rajasthan and 57 members, of which all 57 were related to the Rungta family. There were no elections in the RCA for 40 years.
He eventually became president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, with the help of then CM of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje. They changed the law in Rajasthan, effective 18 Aug 2004, so that the RCA becomes a more democratic organization with elections. He then ran for president of RCA and won. This gave him a seat on the BCCI.
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 BCCI elections. Modi was then appointed Vice-President of the BCCI. Heavily involved in the commercial side of the Board's activities, he is reported to have increased their revenues sevenfold between 2005 and 2008, with the BCCI then reporting annual revenues of over 1 billion USD. Modi was defeated by Union Minister C. P. Joshi in the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections.
Punjab Cricket Association
Currently he is the vice-president of the Punjab Cricket Association under the patronage of former Board of Control for Cricket in India President I.S. Bindra.
Indian Premier League
In 2008, he was instrumental in launching the Indian Premier League (IPL), a league based around Twenty20 cricket, where each team is limited to batting for a maximum of 20 overs. Modi was instrumental in moving the 2009 Indian Premier League competition to South Africa after the dates of the tournament clashed with the Indian general election, 2009 and the Union Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram could not commit to the security of the tournament.
The IPL has grown into one of the world's biggest sports, worth over US$4 billion. The commercial success of the IPL and Modi's control of the league has led to him being compared to Don King and Bernie Ecclestone.
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 agreementsset in motion highly controversial set of events which led to the resignation of the then Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor.
Modi was then suspended as Chairman and Commissioner of the IPL.A suspension notice and a 34-page letter stating 22 charges of impropriety were served via email, to Modi. Modi was accused of, among other things, accepting a multi-million dollar kickback while assigning the telecast rights for IPL matches, and attempting to rig the bids for the two new IPL teams that were auctioned the previous month. Modi had publicly protested his innocence moments after the 2010 Indian Premier League Final had been played.
Allegations of corruption
A confidential income tax department report into Modi has revealed that he holds a silent stake in 3 IPL teams - the Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. Furthermore, there are controversies as to whether Modi was involved in match fixing and betting in IPL games. He is also under fire for helping his family and friends buy stakes in IPL teams.