Bangkok: In the manicured lawns of the plush Sukhothai Hotel in Bangkok, Lalit Modi, the fallen IPL czar on the run from Indian law, says he has won an eight-year battle for justice. This week, Interpol rejected India's appeal to issue a global arrest warrant against him, deleting all records related to Mr Modi from its database. But he denied charges that he gamed the order using a network of former Interpol officials.
- Interpol rejected India's appeal for global warrant against Mr Modi
- He denies order was influenced by network of former Interpol officers
- Says he affords his lifestyle with his family business not impropriety
Amongst his close friends is Ron Noble, former head of Interpol; Rutsel Martha, a former legal counsel for Interpol, is Mr Modi's lawyer.
Mr Modi says he has been cleared by an independent commission of Interpol judges who cannot be influenced.
"I hire ex-Interpol officials to understand the law, not influence it," he said in an interview to NDTV.
Mr Modi, however, still faces charges in India, the most serious of which is the allegation by the Enforcement Directorate that he siphoned off Rs 125 crores during the transfer of rights of the Indian Premier League.
But he described the Enforcement Directorate, which is yet to file formal charges, as "clowns".
Asked how he affords his lavish globetrotting lifestyle, Mr Modi is irked.
"Are you aware of the worth of the KK Modi group?" he snapped, referring to his family businesses, with interests from cigarettes (the tobacco giant Godfrey Phillips) to chemicals.
Mr Modi holds no executive position in the family business at present.
"I always had a larger-than-life lifestyle," he said, adding that he "was born with a diamond spoon in my mouth."
"Ask politicians in Delhi where their money is coming from," he said.
"As the only industrial family of Delhi, I know source of money."
Mr Modi, a big admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says his cocking a snook at the Indian government does not dent the PM's tough-on-corruption image.
"If I save myself, why should that discredit the Indian government?, he asked, adding that he has had no chance to convey his stance to the PM.
He accepted that he and Arun Jaitley are locked in "personal vendetta", ever since the Finance Minister, in his tenure in the cricket board BCCI, allegedly recommended strong action against Mr Modi.
Mr Modi claimed it's because he went after alleged financial malpractice in the Delhi cricket body when it was headed by Mr Jaitley.
Yet again, he refused to produce proof to back his claims.
He says he is reluctant to return to India because of a fear of a vindictive legal and political system.
Regardless, he said he has decided to quit cricket for good. "I am ready to hang up my boots from today," he told NDTV.
Mr Modi's son, Ruchir, is planning to run for the head of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), Mr Modi's former fiefdom, a move seen as the former IPL boss' attempt to exert proxy control within the cricket board.
But he claims his son's decision is his own. "I want him to lose the RCA elections" he said. "So does his mother".