When Modi was booked for robbery
TNN, Apr 16, 2010, 02.56am IST
That IPL commissioner Lalit Modi had a brush with the law as a student in the US has been widely reported. It's said he was booked under a drug charge. Modi himself hasn't quite denied it, saying those were indiscretions of youth and that he is a very different man today.
But TOI discovered it wasn't a drug charge against Modi — it was something else. Here are two reports of March and April 1985 in a local paper, Times-News, Hendersonville, North Carolina, that gives the real story.
The first report appeared on March 1, 1985, headlined 'Drug buyers robbed at gunpoint'.
The report was filed by the Associated Press: Durham: Four Duke University students were arrested and a fifth was being sought in a bogus cocaine deal that left one student beaten after a group of would-be drug buyers was robbed at gunpoint of $10,000, law enforcement officers say.
"There was a conspiracy to buy cocaine that was never there," said Paul J Dumas Jr, Duke's public safety director. "There was never any cocaine, and the guys who offered to sell it were in fact planing a robbery. And in fact they committed a robbery."
Duke and law enforcement sources told the News and Observer of Raleigh that a group of people, most of them Duke students, met Saturday in a Durham motel room where they planned to exchange one-half kilogramme of cocaine for $10,000.
The buyer had brought the money to the motel, but the purported sellers had not brought any drugs. A man brandishing a shotgun then took the $10,000 and fled, the sources said.
Durham District Attorney Ronald Stephens said the people planning to buy drugs concluded they had been set up for the robbery. They blamed a Duke student, who was beaten by several people Sunday night, he said.
The injured student, fearing for his safety, turned himself into authorities on Monday night, officials said. Court records show the student suffered broken facial bones and leg injuries. He was treated at Duke University Hospital and released.
Alexander Van Dyne of Dix Hills, NY, a Duke sophomore. He was charged with armed robbery after turning himself into officials.
John El-Masry of Waltham, Mass, a lineman on the Duke football team. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with assaulting Van Dyne with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injuries.
Lalit Kumar Modi of New Delhi, India, a Duke sophomore. He was arrested Tuesday night on charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
Alexander J McKinnon of Winston-Salem, A Duke junior. He turned himself into authorities Thursday afternoon and was charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
Shepherd R Small of Los Angeles, the only defendant who is not a Duke student. He was being held in the Los Angeles County jail on a North Carolina warrant.
The second report, appearing on April 2, 1985, was on Modi's indictment:
Durham: Three Duke University students and a Los Angeles man were indicted by a Durham County Superior Court grand jury on charges stemming from what police have described as a bogus cocaine deal.
Police say a group of mostly Duke students met in a Durham motel February 23 to exchange a half kilogramme of cocaine for $10,000, but the buyers were robbed by the bogus sellers who didn't bring any drugs.
Durham County District Attorney Ronald Stephens said the grand jury on Monday indicted Duke sophomore Lalit Kumar Modi of New Delhi, India, on a charge of conspiracy to traffic more than 400 grams of cocaine.
Modi and Duke football player John El-Masry were indicted on second-degree kidnapping, a misdemeanour charge of assault inflicting serious injury and conspiracy to kidnap, Stephens said.
Duke sophomore Alexander Van Dyne of Dix Hills, New York, and Shepherd Small of Los Angeles, who isn't a student, were indicted on armed robbery charges and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.