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Et Tu Raman? Lalit Modi's Closest Aide Ditches Him

Suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi's closest aide Sundar Raman seems to have jumped ship during disciplinary hearing, reports Mumbai Mirror. At the peak of his powers, IPL's CEO Sunder Raman was a busy man. He
PTI September 15, 2010 13:25 IST
PTI
Suspended IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi's closest aide Sundar Raman seems to have jumped ship during disciplinary hearing, reports Mumbai Mirror.

At the peak of his powers, IPL's CEO Sunder Raman was a busy man. He would follow IPL chairman Lalit Modi, his boss, like a shadow. And when the Board of Control for Cricket in India suspended Modi moments after the final of League's third season in April, it was only expected that Raman would follow suit.

But that didn't happen and people have been wondering why. The reasons are becoming clearer now. Yesterday, Raman flew down from South Africa where he was overseeing the Champions League T20 to be part of proceedings of the disciplinary committee of the board constituted to look into the wrong-doings in the League's conduct.

One of Modi's closest aides has apparently turned into the BCCI's biggest weapon in their crusade to rid Indian cricket of Modi. Accompanying him at the meeting were Paul Manning, John Loffhagen and Peter Griffiths, all from IMG - the firm which was looking after the logistics of the league. Suspended IPL chairman Lalit Modi (left), IPL CEO Sundar Raman and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty during the third season of the competition earlier this year.

The BCCI, slowly but steadily, seems to be tightening the noose around the man behind their riches. But it is the deal that they seem to have struck with Raman that might ultimately clinch the case for BCCI, both during their inquiry and in the Mumbai High Court where the two are involved in a battle of oneupmanship.

Reports coming out of the disciplinary committee meeting held in Delhi last evening and from the BCCI's corridor suggest that Raman is singing and giving evidence against his former boss.

When BCCI secretary N Srinivasan was asked about how Raman was convinced to become the BCCI witness, his reply had more questions than answers: “Why are questions being asked about Raman becoming a BCCI witness? Anyone can become a witness. Raman had approached the board, he is now a BCCI witness, and will testify about a few things.”

Raman's predicament is an interesting one. During his hey days, he flew in private jets, travelled in nothing less than a BMW and had the guts to not give convincing replies to BCCI president Shashank Manohar.

But these days he has been seen travelling in taxis in Mumbai. He is no longer dictating what questions the media can ask and what headlines they can give as he did in the past.

During the third season of the IPL, the all-powerful man whose life changed after a ‘serendipitous' meeting with Modi some four-five years ago, had the guts to get into scuffle with Sunil Valson, member of India 's 1983 World Cup winning team and a key official with Delhi Daredevils over some parking passes. His arrogance and mannerism forced Manohar to say: “They (Raman and co.) behaved like they were our superiors.”

In the same interaction with the media, Manohar had said that Raman was being “paid a huge salary” by the Board, but did not perform his duties as per expectations and is guilty of trying to protect his boss.

As things stand now, Raman seems to be performing his “duty” of telling all about the dirty dealings of his former boss. In one of the interviews, Raman had spoken about Modi's vision on cricket: “It just turned out that that the man (Modi) had a vision of what he was doing, of re-energising the cricket market in the world.”

But today, Raman is a perfect example of the old adage where friends turn foes. The manner in which the Modi-Raman-BCCI saga is unfolding makes one thing certain - there are no permanent friends or enemies in the political minefield of Indian cricket.