Former BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi ruffled feathers when he decided to contest the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections. With the BCCI threatening to disaffiliate RCA if he is declared president, Modi explains to TOI why he thinks that cannot happen. Excerpts:
When do you think you can come back to India?
I would very much like to be back home in India at the earliest. But let me set the record straight once and for all. There is and has been a very credible, real and perceptible security threat to me and my family, a fact that is well documented by the Mumbai Police. In fact, there have been three distinct attempts on my life. It is due to these threats and the fact that the police could not guarantee me and my family's safety in India that we are here in London today.
Have you been in touch with senior officials like Bindra, Dalmiya, Manohar?
I have plenty of well wishers, who are constantly in touch with me, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. This allows for members of the India cricket fraternity, my friends and family to stay in touch with me. Besides, there are numerous people from the cricket world who visit UK and come over to meet me.
Do you think any attempt to disaffiliate RCA will succeed?
The RCA cannot be disaffiliated as it is governed by the provisions of Rajasthan Sports Act, 2005. Secondly, the RCA elections took place in terms of orders passed by the Supreme Court. The decision in respect of eligibility of any candidate to contest the RCA elections had been taken by the observers appointed by the Supreme Court. They have rejected all objections raised against my candidature. Like for the BCCI to implement any decision a faction needs to follow the procedure in its constitution so also RCA is required to follow the provisions in its constitution.
Do you see yourself playing an active role in the BCCI in the next couple of years?
I am a sports administrator and no one can ever take that away from me. Neither the BCCI nor anyone can take away from me what I achieved with the Indian Premier League. I simply got involved with the RCA to resurrect it to its former glory. I do not need to be a part of the BCCI to do what I want to do. I will simply keep doing things that I feel are important for the game and keep doing it my way. I am going to take it one step at a time, first we will set the RCA house in order. The next step is to work towards restoring the faith of the Indian fan in cricket. As for my return to the BCCI, I will simply take things as they come.
The first step would be to overturn the ban on you. The numbers seem to be stacked against you.
The ban has only acted as a catalyst to spur me on. The scourge of spot-fixing goes on and everyday we hear a new story. In fact, that is my worst fear for world cricket and the IPL brand. Spot-fixing is for me is like a death penalty to the game and one that needs to be rooted out completely. Thus, I will continue to work on all of these issues now and in the future, regardless of whether I am in the BCCI or not to ensure that cricket is nurtured and the popularity of the game is enhanced worldwide.