Chennai: Lalit Modi has come out with yet another sensational claim and for a change he has targetted a different sport — tennis. Modi has alleged that former Union minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti sought “a favour” from him to retain the Chennai Open tennis tournament in the Tamil Nadu capital. Karti, vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), has been the chairman of India’s only ATP tennis event since 2010.
Chennai was about to lose the prestigious tournament at the end of the 2009 edition but the TNTA managed to renew the contract with IMG, an international sports management group who are holding the licence for the ATP tournament.
Modi said the Chidambaram family asked him to “arm twist” IMG to keep the event in Chennai for a lesser fee. “IMG had a better offer from another country to host the tournament. I spoke to IMG chief Andrew Whitehead who told me he was going to suffer a loss of Rs 10 crore if he hosted the tournament in Chennai. I was told to look into it by N. Srinivasan as Karti wanted to keep it in Chennai for Rs 8 crore. I had to pressurise IMG. I promised the company business to help them get compensation for the loss elsewhere,” he added.
When asked for his reaction, Karti categorically denied any conversation related to the Chennai Open with Modi. “I have met Lalit Modi just once in my life and that too for 15 seconds. When someone introduced him to me at a cricket match in Hyderabad, we just exchanged pleasantries. That’s about it. TNTA’s relationship with IMG is completely independent,” he told this newspaper....
Location: Tamil Nadu