Mumbai: Television channels beamed the headline "Lalit Modi declared bankrupt in London court" yesterday evening, but the former Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner, and his India-based lawyer, are least concerned.
Modi's lawyer Mehmood Abdi defended his client. "How can you hastily call him bankrupt when he has offered to lodge the sum (to pay off the security agency)? He is already in a legal battle with Chris Cairns. I have not even heard about this prosecution. He (Modi) has already said whatever needs to be said," Abdi told MiD DAY.
An article published in London's Daily Telegraph yesterday claimed that Modi was declared bankrupt in a London court over unpaid bills of 65,000 pounds owed to a private security firm. "Modi owes the Page Group, an international security and risk assessment company, fees for services provided in 2010. The cricket entrepreneur now lives in London and has permanent security due to threats made against him by mafia gangs in India and Pakistan," the report said.
Left with no other option
Stuart Page, the security firm's chairman, said: "It's unfortunate that we have come to this situation but Modi has given us no other option. We gave Modi a number of security services in relation to threats made against him and his family. We submitted a number of invoices which were not paid. (Our) attempts to reach a settlement with Modi were to no avail and we were forced to take the action we have taken."
Modi blamed the security company for jumping the gun, declaring that he was in a position to clear the pending invoices. "Until the order was served I was completely unaware of any outstanding monies. I have not seen any previous demands but since it came to my attention, I've even offered to lodge the sum being claimed with the court pending clarity.
"But for some reason, that was refused, by the company concerned. It is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time and I can only assume it is being done in an attempt to gain some sort of publicity at my expense. Any suggestion that this order means I am unable to pay is equally ridiculous," he said.
A hearing was scheduled in London yesterday. Modi has spent the past two weeks in the High Court in London defending a libel action brought by Chris Cairns over a tweet he sent in January 2010 accusing him of involvement in match-fixing.