NEW DELHI -- Luxury hospitality chain Aman Resorts has banned controversial former cricket administrator Lalit Modi from all its properties on the grounds of his "behaviour whilst staying in Aman hotels" and due to "recent media coverage".
Modi has been an advisor to the hotel chain in the past, and has described it as a "second home".
In a letter to general managers of all group properties, which HuffPost India has reviewed, CEO of Aman Resorts Olivier Jolivet has told them to decline any request for reservation by Lalit Modi.
"I am writing to inform you that the Aman Group has decided that an individual named Lalit Modi will no longer be permitted to visit Aman Group properties. This decision has been taken (amongst other things) as a result of complaints regarding Mr Modi’s behaviour in Aman hotels and as a result of concerns arising out of Mr Modi’s recent media coverage," Jolivet wrote on June 30, 2015.
"Whilst Mr Modi has been informed of this decision, please ensure that any future reservation request made by or on behalf of Mr Modi are declined... In this regard, please note that Mr Modi is not a director or employee of any company in the Aman Group and he has no absolute right to visit Aman’s properties; any statement to the contrary made by Mr Modi or his representatives can be discounted," he wrote.
A spokesperson for Aman Group refused to comment on the letter, but confirmed that Modi has no connection with Aman resorts.
"Aman Resorts would like to make it clear that Mr Lalit Modi has no operational role and receives no financial remuneration from Aman Resorts whatsoever. We would also like to say that there is no advisory board at Aman Resorts," the spokesperson said.
A person affiliated with Aman Resorts who asked not to be named, said the company had taken the step due to violations of the chain's policies for guests.
Lalit Modi did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Modi, who is being investigated by Indian agencies for financial irregularities relating to the high profile Indian Premier League cricket tournament he ran as an official, is currently at the centre of a major political scandal in India. Over the past month, it has emerged that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj helped Lalit Modi obtain travel documents from the United Kingdom even though he is a fugitive from Indian law and even as her daughter worked as a lawyer for Modi.
It has also been revealed that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje backed his immigration application in 2011 on the condition that it would be hidden from British authorities. She was leader of the opposition at the time. The BJP leader also compromised the Indian government's position by portraying Modi as a victim to the British authorities.
In recent weeks, Modi has fashioned himself as a whistle-blower, tweeting allegations about a number of public figures. He has also said he is starting a non-profit to fight corruption.
Aman Resorts, which has a cult following among royalty, celebrities and business tycoons like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, has a string of exclusive properties that run from Phuket to Bali, the Philippines, Morocco, India, Bhutan, Tahiti, Turkey and the Rocky Mountains, and China.
A massive battle to control the luxury chain, founded by Indonesian-born hotelier, Adrian Zecha, played out in the summer of 2014. The trouble started when U.S. entrepreneur Omar Amanat joined hands with Russian businessman Vladislav Doronin to acquire Aman Resorts from India's DLF. The two fell out soon after and were locked in a nasty power struggle.
Broadly, Amanat, an American entrepreneur (his parents are immigrants from India) who made his fortune trading stocks, has backed Zecha to run the company. Doronin is opposed to it and has fought a legal battle, backing the incumbent Olivier Jolivet, a long-time Aman executive, for the top job.
In July last year, Modi published a press release on his website which said that he had been inducted into the advisory board of Aman Resorts. It was widely covered in media reports in India.
"I am delighted to be associated with a globally renowned and prestigious brand like Aman Resorts, which has been akin to a second home for me and my family for many years," Modi wrote.
"It is even more special for me, to have been invited as an advisor by the company’s founder and visionary Chief Executive Officer -– Adrian Zecha... We will do all we can to ensure that Adrian Zecha and Omar Amanat, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Amanresorts, succeed going forward," he wrote.
The person affiliated with the company said Modi had been named as an advisor by Zecha, whose stint as CEO was short-lived and the advisory board was dissolved in September 2014.
Mehmood Abdi, Lalit Modi's lawyer, refused to comment. "I don't know anything about this issue," he said.
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