External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s husband Swaraj Kaushal Monday confirmed that he has been Lalit Modi’s lawyer for the past 22 years. Kaushal also said he was Modi’s guest for one night at Mumbai’s Four Seasons Hotel, where the former IPL boss was camped in April 2010. Modi made arrangements for Kaushal’s accommodation on April 21-22, 2010 at the hotel.
“I was Lalit Modi’s lawyer and went there on his request for legal advice. Naturally they had to pay for lawyer’s stay for one day. Yes, I am Lalit Modi’s lawyer for 22 years,” Kaushal told The Indian Express in a text message.
Kaushal, 62, stayed in a Deluxe sea view room and the bill of his stay was marked to the IPL account instead of Modi’s office. Asked if he was at the hotel for work related to the BCCI or the IPL, he said, “I advised Lalit Modi. I have always stayed away from cricket.”
Kaushal is among several guests who were provided accommodation at the hotel during the 2010 IPL season. The guest list created a storm in the BCCI when allegations of financial irregularity surfaced following Modi’s removal as IPL chief at the end of the season.
After Modi’s ouster, the BCCI received a nearly Rs 1.56 crore bill from the hotel as outstanding payment. The matter came up in a working committee meeting and the hotel was asked to submit details of the guests who stayed there. Eventually, the board decided the bills would be paid by Modi since, despite having the BCCI office in Mumbai, he turned the hotel into his office.
When contacted, the then treasurer of the BCCI, M P Pandove, said, “I remember that Four Seasons had sent some claims which we didn’t pass. The claims were rejected saying that those were not payable by the BCCI. As far as I can remember, the matter ended there.”