On May 19, an Australia-based attorney sent an email to Lalit Modi and his brother Samir Modi with an attached draft trust deed referring to the former IPL chief’s alleged “beneficial interest” in three IPL teams.
While that email, first reported by The Indian Express, did not identify the teams, a separate trail of emails has emerged that connects Modi, Preity Zinta, the co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, other stakeholders in the team and Sanjivan Sahani, who works for Modi.
“Let’s agree to sell. Please communicate with mohit,” Modi wrote to Sahani on November 22, 2014. This email was in response to a “self-explanatory” mail that Zinta sent to Modi on November 21, 2014, which referred to a possible “deal” and included a short note: “Hey Lalit, FYI”.
Zinta’s email, reviewed by The Indian Express, was copied to Mohit Burman, Gaurav Burman, Kapil Khanna and Ness Wadia.
In the email, Zinta wrote: “The email below is self explanatory and next week we will get the other paperwork and final time lines to move ahead with this deal.”
Zinta added: “This person has been vetted by the Bcci also and is a decent business man with a Punjabi background. Let me know your thoughts and pls keep this to yourselves as no one should know about (it) till the deal is done and signed off by us and Bcci. He is also ready to put money in escrow as we move forward so let’s make this happen and close it.”
Responding to a detailed questionnaire sent by The Indian Express, inquiring about the “deal” mentioned, a Kings XI Punjab spokesperson stated that the email was a “general inquiry… about an offer”.
The spokesperson also denied that Modi had “any stake or interest whatsoever” in the team and identified Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul as the “stakeholders of KXIP”.
In an emailed response, the spokesperson wrote: “Lalit Modi has been known to the stakeholders of KXIP because when the IPL was established by him in 2008, KXIP was one of the allotted teams. Due to his knowledge on the subject, a general enquiry was made by the stakeholders about an offer they had received from an interested party. There is nothing more to it.”
The statement added: “KXIP is surprised to note the contents of your email and the enquiry made for a story based on a few leaked personal emails. The questions raised are based on the emails being interpreted out of context. Lalit Modi does not have any stake or interest whatsoever in KXIP. The stakeholders of KXIP are Mohit Burman, Ness Wadia, Preity Zinta and Karan Paul.”
The Indian Express had reported on August 27 about a draft trust deed in the form of a “letter agreement” that was part of a fresh set of emails purportedly linked to Lalit Modi.
Attorney Dean Kino’s email on May 19 referred to point 5 of the “agreement” and stated: “They will jointly own the beneficial interest currently owned by Lalit in three IPL teams, provided, however that in the event Lalit and Samir agree not to jointly own the Acquired K K Trust Assets and instead, they separately take and hold their share of the acquired KK Trust Assets, then as soon as Samir receives his share of the Acquired K K Trust Assets, his interest in the IPL teams will be transferred back to Lalit.”
When contacted, Kino had acknowledged the email and said that “the reference to the potential cricket interests of Lalit were based on guess work rather than facts” and that “the documents reflected initial discussions and thoughts and nothing was ever finalized”.
However, The Indian Express had also reviewed Samir Modi’s reply which stated: “Point 5: how will we own since this is not in the name of lkm (Lalit Kumar Modi). My understanding is that he is the ultimate beneficial owner.”
Samir and Lalit Modi did not respond to requests for comment.
The Enforcement Directorate is planning to approach Interpol and UK authorities for Modi’s deportation to India after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him. The ED had asked Modi to join its money laundering probe into alleged irregularities in IPL contracts during 2007-2010 when he helmed the league.