By Monisha G Kumar Last Updated:
The name Lalit Modi is well-known in the field of cricket and the business world. The flamboyant businessman, whom the world calls controversy’s favourite child, is the one who gave India the IPL. Founder, first Chairman and Commissioner of the IPL, Lalit Modi, ran the tournament for 3 years till 2010. In 2010, Lalit Modi was suspended as the Chairman of IPL on charges of impropriety.
After years of staying away from the limelight, Lalit Modi had again garnered the headlines for his relationship with former Miss Universe and actress, Sushmita Sen. The fugitive business tycoon announced the news of his passionate relationship with Sushmita with an array of pictures from their Maldivian vacation.
Let’s take a look at some lesser-known facts about the businessman, Lalit Modi, who is garnering a lot of limelight.
Since childhood, Lalit Modi was a notorious kid. He was once expelled from his school for truancy as he bunked school to watch a movie with friends. A departmental store owner recalls the incident and had said:
“Lalit said he would be watching a football match, but went off to watch the Rajesh Khanna-Poonam Dhillon starrer Red Rose at Capitol Cinema. Three other boys went with him. When Brother CG Fernandez, the principal, found out, he called the parents of all of them and expelled them from school.”
In 1971, he joined Bishop Cotton School in Shimla but later moved to St. Joseph College, Nainital, because of a kidnapping threat.
Lalit Modi was born in a wealthy business family. He is the son of Bina Modi and business tycoon, Krishan Kumar Modi, who was the Chairman of Modi Enterprises. Lalit Modi’s grandfather, Gujar Mal Modi, had established the Modi Group business conglomerate and also the town of Modinagar. Lalit has an elder sister, Charu Modi Bhartia and a younger brother, Samir Modi.
From 1983-1986, during his academic years at Duke University in North Carolina, Lalit Modi was arrested for assaulting a student. He pleaded guilty to the crime and entered a plea bargain, because of which he got a suspended two-year prison sentence.
In 1993, Lalit collaborated with Walt Disney Pictures and brought the content of Disney to India. The Modi Enterprise Networks (MEN) also brought Fashion TV to India.
In the year 1994, Lalit Modi got a 10-year contract with ESPN for pan-India. It was worth 975 million dollars.
In 2003, Lalit Modi’s close friend, Vasundhara Raje, was elected as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and he was one of her closest associates. In 2005, he also used his connections with Vasundra Raje to get the Rajasthan Sports Act passed. It is also reported that Lalit Modi had invested Rs. 11.63 crores in a firm owned by Raje’s son, Dushyant Singh.
Lalit Modi served as the Vice President of BCCI from 2005-2010. He also became the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) in 2005. During his tenure, Lalit Modi helped National Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar for the BCCI Presidential elections. Lalit was also involved in the commercialisation of the BCCI, under which the revenues increased sevenfold.
In 2010, BCCI suspended Lalit Modi on the charges of bypassing the governing council while taking decisions, bid rigging, awarding contracts to his friends, selling franchises to members of his family, betting and money laundering.
In 2010, Lalit Modi left for London after alleging that he faced threats from the underworld. In London, he hired a British law firm to fight BCCI’s charges against him. He also concentrated on expanding his family business.
Lalit Modi is reportedly leading a lavish life in London in a 7000 sq ft mansion in Sloane Street. His luxurious 5-storey house comes with eight double bedrooms, seven bathrooms, four reception rooms, two guest rooms and kitchens. The mansion, with a rent of approximately Rs. 12 lakh per month, is taken on lease by Lalit.
In 2008, TIME magazine rated Lalit Modi as the 16th best sports executive. In the same year, Business Week ranked him 19th most powerful global sports figure. He has also been conferred ‘The Consumer Award for Transforming Cricket in India’.
Lalit Modi had fallen in love with Minal Sagrani, daughter of a Nigeria-based Sindhi Hindu businessman. However, Lalit’s family was against their relationship as Minal was nine years older to him and was also a divorced mother. After a lot of turbulences, Lalit and Minal tied the knot in 1991 and moved to Mumbai.
Lalit and Minal had embraced parenthood with the arrival of their kids, Aliya Modi and Ruchir Modi. Lalit also has a stepdaughter, Karima Sagrani, from Minal’s first marriage. In 2018, Minal had bid adieu to her loved ones after her long battle with cancer. Lalit’s daughter, Aliya Modi got married in Italy in 2022. His son, Ruchir Modi now handles various business ventures including Godfrey Phillips India and Modi Enterprises.
In 2013, Lalit Modi, who was head-over-heels in love with former Miss Universe and actress, Sushmita Sen, had asked her on Twitter to reply to him on SMS.
On July 14, 2022, Lalit Modi announced the news of dating Sushmita Sen through his Twitter handle. By posting an array of pictures with her from their Maldivian vacation, Lalit had tweeted:
“Just back in london after a whirling global tour #maldives # sardinia with the families - not to mention my #betterhalf @sushmitasen47 - a new beginning a new life finally. Over the moon. In love does not mean marriage YET. BUT ONE THAT BY GODS GRACE WILL HAPPEN. I JUST ANNOUNCED THAT WE ARE TOGETHER"
From becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents of BCCI to facing a life ban, Lalit Modi has seen it all. However, the man, who calls himself the architect of the Indian Premier League never let anything come in his way of success. And as he once said, “In war, there are no winners, I know. But I can assure u I will still be standing”, Lalit has definitely aced his game.