news Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 05:30
  In his interview to Rajdeep Sardesai on India Today sitting by the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi went all out against former Union Minister P Chidambaram, stating that it was P Chidambaram who arm-twisted the UK government to act against him during the UPA2 regime. In the interview, Lalit Modi says that P Chidambaram wrote to the UK government stating that the bilateral relations between India and UK would sour if any help was provided to Modi. He says that since there were no legal grounds to deport him back to India, Chidambaram tried to arm-twist the UK government to bring him back to India. The reasons, Modi says, was because P Chidambaram had to face embarrassment due to IPL being shifted to South Africa from India in 2009, and that he had to sit back and watch as one of his ministerial colleagues, Shashi Tharoor, go down due to Lalit Modi’s revelations. “It was political vendetta,” said Lalit Modi. Following this, Chidambaram has sought the release of documents showing communication between India and the Chancellor of UK which could clear the air on his involvement. In the interest of transparency, Government of India should release the letters written to the UK Chancellor on the Lalit Modi case. — P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 14, 2015 The complete answer to Mr. Lalit Modi's accusations against the UPA can be found in the letters to the UK Chancellor. Release them. — P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 17, 2015 L’affaire Shashi Tharoor-IPL and Lalit’s role in it is quite well known. Shashi Tharoor indeed had to step down because of the scandal, and it is quite possible that the UPA government had a reason to be miffed at Lalit Modi. But what was the whole deal between Modi and Chidambaram over IPL shifting its venue to South Africa? Let’s refresh your memory. In March 2009, the nation was awaiting two important events with much excitement. One was the impending General Elections which were to be held in April-May 2009. The other was the second edition of Indian Premiere League to be held in various cities across the country. IPL may have lost some steam over the years, but on the back of its roaring success in 2008, IPL 2 was a rage. Cricket fans were crazy, with parochialism manifesting through their support for their regional teams. And amidst all of this, the Indian government of UPA1, played spoilsport. The then Home Minister, P Chidambaram said that since the elections were to be held the same time, security cover could not be provided for the event. The state police departments too were unwilling to take up the security responsibility for two mammoth events at the same time. So, Chidambaram suggested that the event be rescheduled, or be split into two phases. For IPL, the contracts were locked in and a lot of money was at stake. More than the venue, it was timing which was important. The summer holidays were on, and that was peak time for cricket viewership. And TV viewership was more important than tickets sales the IPL venues. So, BCCI and Lalit Modi refused to change the dates. P Chidambaram also said that Modi tried to pressurize the Chief Ministers to convince their police departments to provide security. But the deadlock remained. The BCCI then took the decision to shift the venue to South Africa. P Chidambaram couldn't care less about where the IPL was held, but what hit him hard was that t this was spun into a political embarrassment for him. Just ahead of the General Elections, Chidambaram was made to look by the BJP, especially Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley, as a Minister who was not even capable of providing security for cricket matches. "Chidambaram now has the responsibility of the Home Minister of the country. He was the Finance Minister and I regret to say, when he was the Finance Minister, our investments were not safe and when he is the Home Minister, our security is not safe," Jaitley had said. Chidambaram was mocked and he did not take the issue lightly. After the 2009 elections, Chidambaram returned as the Home Minister. So was Chidambaram one of the reasons behind Lalit Modi’s ‘suffering’ in London? Perhaps more documents have to be leaked for us to know for sure.  
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