[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]F[/dropcap]ormer IPL commissioner Lalit Modi tried every trick in the trade to influence the media to tarnish the image of BCCI chief N Sreenivasan, his team Chennai Super Kings(CSK) as well as another IPL team, Rajasthan Royals (RR).
A series of emails going back to June 2013 show that when some TV anchors were screaming the `Nation wanted to know’ Lalit Modi was trying to build a case against his rivals – Chennai Super Kings owner Sreenivasan and Rajasthan Royals – for a proxy Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to be filed against them by his aide Aditya Verma through a sustained media campaign.
The emails give the impression that Shashank Manohar, who reportedly shares a great rapport with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and Lalit Modi were on the same page concerning the CSK and RR. See the following email dated June 20, 2013 from Lalit Modi to Manohar:
“Sahib?” No need for super human intelligence to understand that it is none other than Sharad Pawar.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]F[/dropcap]or media operations, Lalit Modi entrusted the job to one Sharad Chikara, a PR agent. Modi’s Advocate Mehmood Abdi, who addresses the media on his behalf and Modi’s Jaipur-based advocate Swadeep Hora were actively involved in ‘leaking’ stories to media. Percy Bakhtiyar Dubash, the Corporate Director of a well known PR agency Adfactors was also part of the media management.
One such email dated October 31, 2013 from Lalit Modi to all such persons mentioned above clearly gives away the game plan. The subject of the email was – Media Work. The mail asks them that to first open a website for exposing cricket corruptions and then slowly plant reports in media.
After starting a website www.stopcorruptionincricket.com this group began sending media releases.
Another email dated October 30, 2014 from Hora to PR managers says:
“Percy, Harmanjit, Faisal,
PL (please) send a hard hitting media release in next couple of hours. It should hit print media tom(tomorrow)
Some of the receivers including Sharak Chikara appreciates the media strategy: “Yes Great idea.” But shouldn’t Ed Hawkins also simultaneously spearhead the media attack with a story?”
Who is Ed Hawkins? Ed Hawkins is a London-based journalist who writes on sports. He wrote a book on gambling and fixing in games.
The same day Lalit Modi wrote another mail to his media managing gang: “Time to link email to match specifically and stir some media.
Another PR agent Fasial Sharif asks Percy on October 28, 2013: “Percy, did you see the Open Magazine piece on Srini’s mysterious ways and Tantric tactics?”
That day Lalit Modi urged his media management team “Boys – we have work to do. Operation – bring then down on- go for it. Let us finish the job”.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]O[/dropcap]n October 28, Swadeep Hora writes to all including Modi about the forthcoming FIR against rivals from Jaipur and prepares them to plant stories.
Please find attached the English translation of the complaint. Today the Court in Jaipur has ordered investigation of case by the police which in effect means registration of the case. Te FIR should be formally registered in next 36 hours. Till then we keep everything under wraps but immediately post that we go media overdrive. We have to be ready by then.”
In reply, PR agent Sharad Chikara talks about non-downloading of a news that appeared in Rajasthan Patrika and says it should be immediately translated to spread it at the national level. The complainant in the news is none other than Modi’s trusted aide Abdi. Here are the transcripts of the email from Hora :
Attached is the criminal complaint Mr.Adbi filed today in Jaipur. Pl download it and open using Hindi fonts.
As of now we do not take it to Media but keep the ground work ready. The work involved are :
- Translation of Hindi complaint into English.
- Media release hopefully more attacking than the last one on three issues –
conflict arising from players/employers employed in India Cements.
Meiyappan’s trip to bookies of Chennai scoring 140 runs in CSK match held in Jaipur on 12.4.13.
CSK team doing Srini and Meiyappan’s bidding and getting all out for 141.,” the email goes on about media strategy.
“The court is expected to order registration for FIR early next week. Let’s keep ourselves for full blast media release then,” said the email dated October 26, 2013. It shows the Jaipur Advocate Modi was very sure about the outcome of the local court.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he October 31 email by PR agent Sharad Chikara to all says he had wrongly attached some other documents and sends correct documents for media strategy. It also had a note:
“NOTE: It is imperative that we handout Srini/ Guru modus operandi as outlined in the attached image to all bloggers, media agencies. I will make the change for 140 runs and redistribute. Can someone review and advise for accuracy? Thanks!!,” it said.
The above emails exposes that those days several bloggers were writing about cricket as part of Lalit Modi’s media strategy to create a negative perception about his rivals.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he leaked emails also show that Aditya Verma got all his media releases to Lalit Modi and gets his approval before releasing to press. The emails also shows the media team was planting maligning reports against cricketer Shiv Lal Yadav. The emails expose the fact that that Modi felt Sreenivasan may field Shiv Lal Yadav for the BCCI Chief post and the media team was digging old reports against Yadav to distribute to media.
In one email Lalit Modi was upset over some story planted by Aditya Verma without his consent. He fires Aditya for being careless and going overboard. The email dated June 1, 2014 reads:
“You need to check. This game is not about headlines. This game is about winning friends. I have been doing it too long. U need to check before make anything public. I cannot stress more. I have so much data but if I made it public day one. The story will play. Then it is all over. I do it slowly and at right time. Secondly never let allies down. No one will help u in future. [dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]his is a serious issue. Getting a story on front page for me is a second’s job. So please clear 100% of what needs to be done with Swadeep and me. Please DO NOT TAKE advice from others on this issue,” said angry Modi to his proxy PIL petitioner Verma for some mistakes in planting a story in media.
Verma apologizes to Modi in a email reply: “Wrongly its leak, it’s my fault. I apologize to Smith.
After the apology of Verma, Lalit Modi warns him: “You should not have leaked this.”
A day before this spat on May 31, 2014, FICCA Chief Ian Smith also fires Aditya Verma:
“Mr. Verma, you have betrayed me and FICA in leaking my private email to you to the Indian Media.”
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]hose days Lalit Modi was using services of FICCA Chief Ian Smith to malign the then ICC Chief and Lalit Modi’a arch rival N Sreenivasan.
One Faisal Sheriff, a former journalist in the media team of Modi, on April 4, 2015 asks the team members including Modi about the opinion on he himself appearing before Lodha Committee as a former journalist and getting recommendation from his former sports editor in Rediff News.
Interestingly, most of the emails of Lalit Modi and gang were also marked to lawyer Ankur Chawla, son of veteran editor Prabhu Chawla. Emails dated June 10, 2013 (chambers email@example.com) is Ankur Chawla’s email id and several emails were marked to him regarding the legal strategy. It must be remembered that Prabhu Chalwa had admitted that he deposed for Lalit Modi in front of a British panel in connection with British visa related issues.
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