The IPL mess September 25, 2013

The rise, fall and return of Lalit Modi

ESPNcricinfo staff
A timeline of Lalit Modi's career as the most influential cricket administrator, with his rise, fall and his court-assisted return


Overthrows the powerful Rungta regime that controlled the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for more than 30 years and becomes the president. Is also the vice-president of Punjab Cricket Association (PCA). Has a reputation of an efficient and a cocky administrator. Openly defies Jagmohan Dalmiya, the man in power at the BCCI.

November 29, 2005

Becomes one of the youngest BCCI vice-presidents. His rise coincides with the coming to power of the Sharad Pawar faction.

February 9, 2006

Has already become famous for his brash ways. Has been shaking the system, and has managed to ruffle the ICC too. Has expressed a desire to keep the Indian cricket team busy with only commercially lucrative assignments - against Pakistan, Australia and England - and has threatened the FTP. Now oversees a broadcast deal for cricket in India wherein the BCCI controls the production.

September 13, 2007

Announces a league what would become the IPL. Is named the convenor of the league. The league is originally a nine-day event to be played in October 2008.

Tells Cricinfo: "Cricket is a very old and traditional game. These traditions are embedded into our systems. This has been the case for decades. We have something new and are trying to put it into reality. We have taken some bold steps. We're going forward and trying to change the world order in that scenario. I think the results will eventually show for themselves."


The sale of eight IPL franchises fetches more than $720m, and the first season proves immensely popular. Modi becomes the most high-profile cricket official in the world.

July 30, 2008

After the BCCI has turned down an offer to be part of an England-backed Champions League, the India-backed Champions League T20 is launched. "We've extended an invitation to Middlesex and we are hoping to hear positively from the ECB," Modi says. "We have always wanted this to be a global competition. England and the ECB have contributed to the game of cricket. We would continue to endeavour to have England as part of the inaugural season of Champions League."

January 2009

The return of Indian National Congress' Ashok Gehlot after five years as the Rajasthan chief minister to replace Bhartiya Janta Party's Vasundhara Raje Scindia coincides with a string of cases of funds misappropriation against Modi. "These cases have no value at all," Modi tells PTI. "But there is so much mud, I want to get rid of this once and for all. I will resign if I am proven guilty."

March 1, 2009

Loses the RCA election despite veiled threats that the IPL matches may be moved away from Jaipur. But keeps his place in the BCCI because he is also a PCA vice-president.

"I paid the price of being close to Vasundhara Raje," Modi says after the defeat. "The state government did whatever it could to defeat me." However, the IPL games stay in Jaipur.

March 24, 2009

Facilitates, on a short notice, the move of the IPL's 2009 edition to South Africa to avoid the clash with the general elections in India.

April 2009

First reports that Modi has received life threats from the underworld emerge. Is provided special security in South Africa.

December 7, 2009

Loses the RCA election again. "Some of my supporters are being beaten up, and it is unfortunate," he says. "We hope that for the good of cricket, people are allowed to cast their votes. But there are goonda (rowdy) elements out here, who shouldn't be here."

December 2009

First suggestions of a rivalry between Modi and N Srinivasan, then the BCCI secretary. Leaks from both camps appear in media reports. Most significant is a strongly-worded letter allegedly written by Modi to Srinivasan over the appointment of match observers during the ODI series against Australia in October-November.

Speculation around that Modi might be ousted from the IPL even before his term runs out. Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president then, puts those rumours to rest. He says: "Modi is doing an excellent job as IPL commissioner and chairman. He is appointed by the general body till 2012, and there is no reason and no power or authority with either of us to remove him."

January 7, 2010

Chris Cairns announces his intention to sue Modi after the latter makes fixing allegations against the former New Zealand allrounder in a tweet.

April 12, 2010

Modi's Waterloo moment. Announces on Twitter the ownership structure of the brand-new Kochi franchise in the IPL. The franchise owners consider this a breach of faith, and the BCCI is not happy either.

The ownership structure is significant here because the Kochi franchise has been an underdog in the team auction. Shashi Tharoor, a central government minister from Kerala, has pushed for the success of the franchise, and the ownership disclosure Modi has disclosed includes a woman Tharoor "knows".

April-May 2010

Much larger skeletons appear, with more revelations on financial irregularities in the league emerging almost everyday. The IPL remains on the front pages of the newspapers. The BCCI gets together, and decides to get rid of Modi. The man himself refuses to resign, and signs off in surreal fashion. Arrives on a chartered aircraft to attend the IPL final, and then delivers a speech even as everybody knows his time is all but up.

Hounded out and accused of grave misconduct - fixing the auctions, creating slush funds, manipulating broadcast deals, plotting a parallel IPL working with English counties - he leaves the country. Calls the charges "fiction".

Srinivasan says Modi's replies to show-cause notices from the BCCI are unacceptable.

February 7, 2012

After sporadic strikes against the BCCI from the UK, Modi lets the big cat out of the bag. Accuses Srinivasan, who is the BCCI president now, fixed the auction of Andrew Flintoff in 2009. Flintoff was bought by Chennai Super Kings, a team owned by India Cements. Srinivasan is vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements.

March 26, 2012

Cairns wins the libel case against Modi, who is ordered to pay the damages - $142,000 - and cost - $2.4m. Modi's statement says: "I have received the judgement, and I am immediately considering an appeal with my legal team. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment any further at this time."

October 31, 2012

The appeal against the Cairns verdict is rejected. A Court of Appeal statement said: "We reject the criticisms of the judge's reasoning or of the total award based on a starting point of £75,000 with the £15,000 uplift directly linked to the conduct of the hearing. In our judgment they were proportionate to the seriousness of the allegation and its direct impact on Mr Cairns himself and will serve to vindicate his reputation. The appeal is accordingly dismissed."

November 23, 2012

Claims he survived three assassination attempts. Says, in Mumbai in March 2009, "There was a shoot-out outside my house and one guy got killed and one got picked up."

September 2013

After sorting out all legalities, the BCCI makes a final push towards expelling Modi from the board once and for all. The disciplinary committee finds him guilty, a special general meeting is called, but Modi manages interim relief by procuring a stay order against the proceedings. The BCCI moves supreme court, and gets the stay revoked. As soon as the supreme court turns down Modi's counter appeal, the BCCI announces the expulsion.

May 6, 2014

Modi is declared the winner of the Rajasthan Cricket Association election. The BCCI - via its interim president Shivlal Yadav - responds immediately by suspending the RCA.