Contrary to reports of strained relations between them, industrialist K K Modi on Tuesday extended financial support to his son, suspended Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi, although he said the problems were not unexpected.
"I SMSed him not to resign. I told him you are facing problems but the whole family is behind you and you will overcome it," K K Modi, 73, who lords over a Rs 4,000 crore diversified business group with interests from tobacco to entertainment, said over phone.
Firmly standing behind Lalit, who was pulled down by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on mismanagement and impropriety charges, Modi said he is willing to give "more money" to start a new venture.
"If Lalit wanted to create a franchise for the Modi group I am willing to give him more money than the BCCI gave him to start the IPL... If he (Lalit) can create (a venture) half as successful as IPL, every member of the Modi family will benefit," he added.
Modi said that resigning would have meant admission of wrongdoings and claimed that his son had done nothing wrong.
"He (Lalit) has a 100 per cent strong case to defend himself. Such problems are not unexpected. If you are running a public game like the IPL, people are going to ask questions," the Modi family patriarch said, but attributed the problems faced by Lalit to his flamboyant lifestyle.
Lalit had paid an advance tax of Rs 11 crore during the year 2009-10, compared to just a few lakhs the previous year.
Known for his lavish lifestyle, he is reported to have a private jet of his own, a yacht and a fleet of luxury cars and heritage properties.
"I think most of the allegations are arising for his lifestyle. His lifestyle is not dependent upon IPL," K K Modi said.
He, however, felt that Lalit has learnt a lot through the IPL and developed an expertise in running businesses, which could be beneficial for the Modi group. "Previously all that we have benefited from him was the fame from IPL, but now I hope we will be able to benefit from his (Lalit's) new business expertise," Modi said, in an obvious indication that Lalit was not involved in the family business to the extent desired.
Lalit holds positions in Modi Entertainment and Godfrey Philips, but the group businesses are run by professionals and the family has more of an advisory role.
On reports that he had chosen Lalit to succeed him in the family business, Modi senior replied he has a different plan for the future.