It's witch-hunt, I did nothing wrong: Lalit Modi

Updated: 26 November 2010 18:07 IST

Lalit Modi on Thursday denied any wrongdoing during his role as IPL commissioner and called the charges against him as witch-hunt.

New Delhi:

Suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi said his ouster as the IPL boss was part of a witch-hunt by people who are "jealous of his success" and that he will return to India only when he is convinced of his security.

In his first major interview since his unceremonious exit, Modi defended himself of any wrong doing and said his family and friends had invested in IPL teams only because nobody else was convinced with the concept. (Read: Full transcript)

In the lengthy interview, Modi spoke of how people with vested interest in the BCCI tried to pull him down and how he had spent money from his own pocket to make the IPL a huge success.

"I can very clearly tell you that I have not pocketed any money from the IPL. I created something out of nothing. The BCCI had benefited, will benefit in the next ten years in excess of USD 2 billion. This is something of an initiative that I took on my own, as an honorary member and I did not do it for myself, and the benefit 100 per cent accrued to the BCCI," Modi said.

"What I did is absolutely by the book. Currently whatever is on is like a witch hunt and you know I'd rather not comment on it.

"There's a lot of jealousy all around, and it was more than meets the eye, it's not only about the IPL, it's about the running of the BCCI, there are vested groups out there trying to take control, and there is more to it, but I'd rather not get into that right now," he added.

The combative Modi, who has been out of the country ever since his removal as IPL chairman, said that his security advisors have instructed him not to return to India because of death threat.

"I will return to India as and when I feel secure. My security agencies have advised me that it's not appropriate time currently to go back till the security situation smoothens out. And the Indian police have continuously told me yes, that the threat perception continues to be there and as and when I feel comfortable with that factor I would go back," he said.

Modi also made it clear that he had never intended to get former Minister of States for external affairs Sashi Tharoor sacked but had only wanted to bring the truth out.

"It wasn't intended to embarrass anybody. It was the intention of that to get the truth out there, it wasn't intended to ridicule, embarrass a minister or the government.

"I'm sorry that it happened, but at the end of the day you've got to understand that the events leading to Kochi are still sub judice. I wouldn't like to at this point in time actually get into the nitty gritties and the details of what actually happened," he said.

Tharoor got embroiled in the controversy when it came to light that her close friend Sunanda Pushkar, with whom he married recently, had sweat equity in Kochi Franchisee and that the minister had interest in the franchisee.

Modi is facing probe by Enforcement Directorate, BCCI Disciplinary Committee and the Chennai Police for allegedly rigging bids for the franchises and pocketing money from the IPL broadcast deal, beside other financial irregularities.

Modi said BCCI was aware about the entire bidding process including that some of his relatives were involved.

"When somebody turns around and says that they didn't know about it it's absolutely a false story ... I mean everybody concerned from the governing council to the BCCI members, were very much present in the room, and in fact everybody was just happy at that point in time because we got eight bids," he said.

"In fact you had my Vice Chairman Niranjan Shah who was questioned immediately after the auction and said 'Mr Modi's relatives have bid', he said 'so what, there are no other bidders out there, and if he has bid he has put his own money in', if it wasn't friends and family that are coming to bid and come into and believe in the product they wouldn't have had the IPL in the first place," he said.

Modi denied the allegations that he influenced the bid process as he wanted Adani Group and Videocon to win the franchisees for season-IV.

"How do you rig the process? It's an open bid, it's a tender process, you put the tender in, highest person wins, if that was the case why did Adani not win? Why did Videocon not win? Sahara went and won it for 370 million because it was an open process. Kochi went and won. If it was going to be a rigged process they (Adani and Videocon) would have won."

Modi said he is confident that he will come out clean.

"It's going to end by me getting a clean slate," he said.

Explaining the Kochi row, which eventually cost him and Union minister Tharoor their jobs, Modi said, "For the first time I found that an agreement had been submitted by a party where they had a 25 per cent sweat equity clause in there, and that clause, irrespective of the capitalisation was going to ask the other 75 per cent shareholders to pay for losses over the next decade of decades.

"It's business at the end of the day for them, and today you must support it for other various reasons, but sooner down the line it's going to become business and your accountant's going to tell you 'guys you're going to be bankrupt' or 'you've got to pump in more money," he said.

Modi also spoke about controversial IPL television rights deal with World Sports Group, due to which BCCI said it suffered loses to the tune of USD 80 million.


Topics : Cricket
Related Articles
India vs South Africa: Proteas Will Go For The Kill In 3rd Test, Says Vernon Philander
India vs South Africa: Proteas Will Go For The Kill In 3rd Test, Says Vernon Philander
India vs South Africa: We Will Bounce Back Strongly In ODIs, Says Shreyas Iyer
India vs South Africa: We Will Bounce Back Strongly In ODIs, Says Shreyas Iyer
Sachin Tendulkar Meets India Women's Cricket Team Ahead Of South Africa Series
Sachin Tendulkar Meets India Women's Cricket Team Ahead Of South Africa Series
Show Comments