How Modi, Gupta brothers influenced South Africa cricket

The wealthy computer makers have been associated with Modi, to the dislike of Srinivasan.

It was with the Guptas' help that Modi took the IPL to South Africa.

While the return of Haroon Lorgat in Cricket South Africa has played a part in its strained relations with India's cricket Board, there's another angle to the story.

CSA is empowered by the Guptas -- a wealthy Durban-based family who relocated to South Africa from Saharanpur in 1993. Today, Guptas are in the news for their billionaire lifestyles and access to president Jacob Zuma.

"It is unclear just how the brothers made all their wealth, although they do own one of the largest distributors of personal computers in South Africa," read a report on The National in March 2011.  Their computers firm, Sahara, is a key sponsor of CSA.

"While some brothers thrive in gambling, others are involved in other wrongdoings. But CSA can't voice concerns because they are obliged to them," a senior administrator from South Africa, in condition of anonymity, told HT.

It was thanks to Guptas that Modi took IPL 2009 to South Africa. "There was a local security firm handling the anti-corruption unit, and they were put there by Guptas," said the veteran official.

"Such is the clout enjoyed by Guptas, their former communications manager joined CSA as an independent director handling cricketing operations. He had no knowledge of cricket. During 2007 T20 World Cup, Modi had offered money to the Guptas. They are known to bet together," added the administrator.

In 2010, when Srinivasan was BCCI secretary, he brought up Modi's closeness with Guptas during a finance committee meeting when asked to investigate the audit report prepared by the firm looking into widespread corruption during IPL 2009.

The resentment that Srinivasan and Modi share is no secret. When the proposed BCCI life ban for Modi is discussed at this month's AGM, documents provided by Enforcement Directorate on IPL 2009 will be circulated, it is learnt.

"When Modi first came to discuss IPL 2009 with Guptas and CSA, he was greeted with garlands and treated like a king. There were people who served him at the snap of a finger," said an employee at CSA, actively involved in IPL 2009.

It was after that event when Gerald Majola, the former president, was audited for eating into IPL funds.

"On the last tour, Guptas organised a farewell game for Makhaya Ntini. It was a show of wealth. When Modi was still in BCCI, he planned that night. And trust me, the money spent was gambling money," added the CSA official.

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