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Images: The rise and fall of Lalit Modi

Last updated on: April 26, 2010 13:27 IST

Modi and his brash style of functioning

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Controversy's favourite child, commended and condemned in equal measure. IPL chief Lalit Modi rose meteorically, but his fall was no less spectacular as he was booted out of the very empire he created.

The man who became the Board of Control for Cricket in India's youngest vice-president in 2005 was known for his brash style of functioning that often rubbed people the wrong way and probably hastened his fall once damning revelations of financial irregularities in the IPL came to fore.

The 46-year-old was just another businessman before becoming arguably the most influential authority in Indian cricket with his brain child, the Indian Premier League, that became a cash cow for the BCCI within three years of its inception.

Photographs: IPL/Getty Images


Image: Lalit Modi at the closing ceremony of IPL III

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Not new to controversy

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But one look at his past before he became the all-powerful IPL chairman and commissioner is enough to know that Modi led an eventful life.

Even that would be an understatement considering that his first brush with controversy came as early as in college when he was arrested for alleged drug peddling, while studying at the Duke University in the United States in 1985.

Once he returned to India, he tried his hands at many businesses before entering the business of cricket.

After many attempts to enter the BCCI, he finally succeeded when in 2004, allegedly under the patronage of the then Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje, he became the Rajasthan Cricket Association chief.

It is alleged Raje's government altered the Sports Act to help Modi's RCA election, held for the first time in 40 years.

Modi's win bruised many egos, and the man who was hurting the most was incumbent Kishore Rungta. Rungta accused Modi of fraud and impersonation.


Image: Lalit Modi

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Modi's rise in BCCI ranks was phenomenal

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But for all the legal rumblings that followed there was no looking back for Modi as he became a BCCI vice-president the next year.

He was by Sharad Pawar's side which overthrew Jagmohan Dalmiya as BCCI president. The loyalty earned Modi the firm backing of the heavyweight politician, who was among the few who backed him openly in the current drama.

Modi rose up the BCCI's ranks before flooring the Board with the IPL. He got in top corporates and Bollywood stars to finance a concept that was a winner even before the first ball was bowled in 2008.


Image: Lalit Modi with IS Bindra

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Perfect blend of Bollywood and cricket

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With its mix of Bollywood and cricket, the two national obsessions in India, IPL struck a chord almost instantly with fans, who thronged the stadiums to watch the world's best cricketers competing for city-based franchises.

There were murmurs of Modi having silent stakes in Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab but nothing came out of them in the inaugural year.


Image: Lalit Modi with Shilpa Shetty

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IPL hits its first roadblock

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The first season was a massive hit, and as eager fans got ready for the second edition, the IPL and its chief were hit by its first major controversy.

With the dates of the event coinciding with the general elections in the country, it was threatening to be a security nightmare for the government, which promptly asked the IPL to adjust dates accordingly.

But the ever-so-brash Modi was in no mood to listen. He took on the country's Home Minister and shifted the tournament to South Africa.


Image: Lalit Modi

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Bidding caused a major furore

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But the mother of all scandals erupted during the third edition that was preceded by bidding for two new teams for next season.

The bids for the new IPL teams were initially cancelled as the BCCI found the conditions set by Modi to be too stiff and when they did happen, there was an unlikely winner in Kochi.

The virtually unknown Rendezvous Sports World Group pipped the likes of Adani Group and Videocon to clinch the deal.

But the whole affair snowballed into a devastating controversy when Modi revealed the team's ownership pattern.

All hell broke loose when it emerged that union minister Shashi Tharoor's close friend Sunanda Pushkar had been given a sweat equity worth Rs 70 crore in the team.

Tharoor resigned as a result and the nationwide I-T raids on IPL and its franchisees' offices revealed murky details of financial dealings and kickbacks that allegedly Modi got.


Image: Shashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi

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