Former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi was on Tuesday elected president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, setting the stage for yet another round of legal tussle between him and a livid Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which had threatened to ban the RCA in anticipation of this result.
The election was conducted in December last year but the results were sealed following a Supreme Court directive. After much deliberation, the result was finally announced by a court-appointed observer in Jaipur.
The apex court had on May 1 directed the court appointed commissioner to announce the controversial RCA election results, pending since December, on May 6.
Brushing aside the cricket board’s submission that if Modi is elected the state body’s disqualification process would begin, a bench headed by justice AR Dave verbally told the BCCI's counsel, senior advocate CA Sundaram, that it was at liberty to take action under its rules.
The court directed the SC registry to send the results, filed in a sealed envelope before it, back to the observer, justice (retd) NM Kasliwal, to declare the result. It said anyone aggrieved about the outcome can challenge it before an appropriate authority.
The administrator, 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 SC-appointed observer.
As expected Modi won by a landslide margin, polling in 24 out of 33 votes, while his opponent Rampal Sharma earned just five.
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.
Modi was slapped with a life ban by the BCCI on September 25, 2013 after its disciplinary committee found him guilty on eight charges of "indiscipline and misconduct".
The disciplinary committee comprising Arun Jaitley and Jyotiraditya Scindia had submitted a 134-page report in July, 2013, finding Modi guilty of financial irregularities, indiscipline and committing “actions detrimental to the interest of the BCCI”.
After Modi entered the fray in the RCA elections, BCCI had challenged the Rajasthan Sports Act, 2005 which allowed the former IPL chief to contest the presidential polls despite being banned for life by the board.
Modi's re-election is being seen a massive blow to current BCCI president N Srinivasan, who has been forced to step aside due to the ongoing Supreme Court-monitored probe into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal.
Meanwhile, TV channels while quoting unnamed sources reported that the BCCI is likely to suspend RCA.
Modi has never minced words in criticising Srinivasan, calling him corrupt on several occasions.
The SC had on November 20, 2013 made justice Kasliwal principal observer to oversee the elections and he accepted Modi’s nomination. The elections were held on December 19.
Modi’s rival candidate, Sharma, moved the SC challenging justice Kasliwal’s decision to permit Modi to contest. The BCCI too sought the court’s intervention.
The cricket board said Modi was banned for life from BCCI and added he would find his way back into the board if elected the Rajasthan unit's president.
Modi was the RCA president from 2005 to 2009.