Controversial former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, who has been living in exile after being slapped with a life ban, was today elected President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, prompting a livid BCCI to suspend the RCA.
Modi predictably swept the polls, winning by an emphatic 24-5 margin after the Supreme Court cleared the decks for the announcement of the election results, more than four months after the acrimonious polls. The result was announced by court-appointed observer Justice (retd) N M Kasliwal here today. The announcement of results is expected to trigger another round of legal tussle between Modi and the BCCI, which has made it clear that it would not accept the verdict.
Out of a total 33 votes, Modi's opponent Rampal Sharma earned just five. Within a couple of hours of the declaration of RCA poll results, the BCCI indefinitely suspended the RCA and decided to form an ad-hoc committee to run the affairs of the affiliated unit. "As per Order dated 30/4/2014 the Hon'ble Supreme Court had directed that if it is found by BCCI that any person has acted against its rules, regulations or law, which is to be enforced by it, it would be open to it to take action against such a person," BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
"In pursuance of the order, under authority vested in him as per Regulation 32 (vii) of the Rules and Regulations of BCCI, Mr. Shivlal Yadav, Interim President, BCCI, has suspended the Rajasthan Cricket Association from the membership of the BCCI, pending disciplinary proceedings against it on charges of misconduct," he added. "Keeping in mind the interests of the sport of cricket and in order to safeguard the best interests and welfare of the cricketers playing the game in different age-groups and their future, an ad-hoc committee will be constituted shortly by the BCCI," the statement read.
The RCA, on its part, vowed to challenge the suspension in court. "We are mulling over the situation and would appeal in the High Court," said Mehmood Abdi, the newly-elected vice-President and Modi's lawyer. "We are governed by the Sports Act prevailing in the state and it is law of the land whereas BCCI is just a registered body. We shall raise the matter on all possible forums apart from fighting it out in the court," said Abdi. "It is unfair to punish the association given that the ban was on one person. Some of the members are pushing for a Special General Body meeting of the BCCI to be convened at the earliest and I hope the matter would come up there too," he added.
The 50-year-old Modi, who has been living in London for the past four years, was allowed to contest the RCA elections held on December 19 last year under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed observer. Among other office-bearers, Somendra Tiwari was elected as the new secretary, while Pawan Goyal won the treasurer's post. Mehmood M Abdi, a close confidante and legal counsel of Modi, has been elected as the deputy president of the RCA. Abdi said he expected the BCCI to take a more rational view of the situation now that N Srinivasan is no longer at the helm of affairs after being forced to step aside pending an inquiry into the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal.
Abdi claimed that Modi, despite being based in London right now, was capable of running the RCA affairs. "Modi will be running RCA through his executive committee. It is a shrinking world and lot of the work is done through video conferencing. CP Joshi was the chief earlier for four years and he used to be in Delhi most of the times," he said. "I expect Modi to be back when the security situation improves," he added, referring to the alleged security threat cited by Modi for refusing to come back to India.
Modi was slapped with a life ban by the BCCI on September 25 last year after its disciplinary committee found him guilty on eight charges of "indiscipline and misconduct".