Back in 2010, when Lalit Modi had been sacked as the Commissioner of the IPL by the BCCI, he left the country in a huff for fear of being arrested for alleged financial impropriety as well as a perceived threat to his life from the underworld. Over the past 3 years, he was successful in playing the role of a bitter prince in exile through his frequent attacks on the administrative structure of the BCCI and the apparent blind eye that the national cricket governing seemed to have turned on rampant corruption in the IPL.
For many, he came across as someone who was out there to malign the existing regime at the BCCI without posing any serious threat to the almost impenetrable castle that has been built by N. Srinivasan and he went about this operation with explosive tweets as well as television interviews. However, in late 2013, it was Modi who sent the BCCI scurrying for cover as he announced his nomination for the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections and in retrospect his actions since fleeing the country in 210 seemed to make a whole lot of sense. He has cleared his name of all but a few charges levelled against him the BCCI and the only reason why those charges still stand is due to the fact that Modi needs to be present in person in order to contest them. The BCCI along with Rajasthan cricket administration strong man and Modi’s sworn enemy Kishore Rungta has opposed his nomination but the Supreme Court allowed the election to go through on Dec 19, 2013 and the results of the vote would only be made public after the highest court in the country passes a verdict.
However, one should not look into it as a move that has been a reactionary one aided and abetted by the fights that the BCCI has had to fight on several fronts in the past year, but a well thought out tactical manoeuvre that has been fashioned by a shrewd set of advisors that Modi has at his disposal. In the book, Bookie, Gambler, Fixer, Spy written by Ed Hawkins, the author interviewed Lalit Modi (during his exile in London) in connection with the alleged malpractices in the IPL and the overall image that came across was that of an administrator who wished to clean up the game. During that interview, Modi was asked whether he wanted to make a comeback to Indian cricket as an administrator and this is what he had said at the time: – “Everyone has this misconception that I got into this game for the money. I got into this because I wanted to clean up the bloody game. I am serious about doing that. I am biding my time, deciding when to go back to India and strike again.” Although, the first part of that statement can be taken with a pinch of salt, there is no denying the fact that Modi harboured the ambition to get back into cricket administration at some point.
On the other hand, his proximity to the BJP was a major contributing factor when he won the RCA election for the first time and the happy coincidence of the BJP’s victory in the Rajasthan elections must have also prompted him that it was indeed the right time to make his move. If the Supreme Court rules against the proxy BCCI petition filed by Rungta, then the N. Srinivasan would have a war on his hands that could shake the BCCI to its very foundations since it has been proven time and again that Lalit Modi is someone who is prepared to stake everything he has got in order to claim the top job in cricket administration in the country.
By Soham Samaddar
Image Source: Lalit Modi