Several start-up ventures end up failing, but that’s least expected if it involves Indian Premier League (IPL) founder Lalit Modi. Ion Care was Modi’s brainchild, which sought to establish and run specialist cancer treatment centres across the world, but which didn’t take off. Now, in a keenly contested legal battle Gurpreet ‘Blu’ Gill Maag claims Modi enticed her and her husband Daniel Maag, a Swiss national and an investment banker, into investing $1 million, which they seek to be returned along with damages.
At the heart of the dispute is whether Lalit Modi, based in the UK since 2010, knowingly made misleading or false claims of prominent individuals from Roger Federer to the King and Queen of Spain, and from Sharad Pawar to Kofi Annan being involved in the project as patrons, leaders, and investors. Lalit Modi maintains that while he knows a host of important personalities across the world, several such names represented a “wish list” of people.
In November 2018, Quantum Care, the company belonging to Maag, invested $1 million. The investment happened seven months after the Maags had a chance meeting with Lalit Modi in April 2018 in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Dubai. They have known each other for several years. It is the contention of the Maags that over a four-hour meeting, Modi shared a presentation about Ion Care following which he invited them to invest in a first “friends and family round” of fundraising.
But on Friday, day four of the keenly fought trial, Lalit Modi, during his cross examination, said that it would be wrong to infer that he himself had personally created marketing literature relating to Ion Care that claimed prominent personalities were associated with it. On several occasions Modi said he cannot remember or was not sure of what transpired in his meeting with the Maags. When Anna Dilnot, QC, representing Maag put it to Modi whether people would sit with him for hours just to hear his vision and not facts, he retorted: “Oh, many people would be interested to hear my ideas and visions.”