BCCI said ex-IPL chief Lalit Modi will emerge as a clear winner in Rajasthan Cricket Association polls but successfully opposed opening of a sealed envelope containing its results before the Supreme Court which favoured that former players administer the game instead of businessmen.
“We know the result he (Modi) is a clear winner. He has 26 out of 33 votes,” the cricket board and rivals of Modi in RCA conceded before a bench comprising justices A R Dave and J S Khehar which deferred for March 4, the next hearing on the issue.
The bench which was about to open the sealed envelope could not proceed further as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Modi’s rival for the post of President in RCA R P Sharma along with others vehemently opposed declaration of results for 21 posts saying it will have a far-reaching impact on cricket administration and players.
While a battery of lawyers from both sides were making submissions in high pitch and trading personal charges against BCCI President N Srinivasan and Modi, the bench said “at least a person who has played cricket upto Ranji trophy level should be an office bearer”.
Realising that the entire controversy over the RCA polls was turning out to be a battle between Srinivasan and Modi, the bench decided to adjourn the hearing and said, “we will see this matter on March 4”.
BCCI’s counsel C A Sundaram and senior advocate Haren Raval, appearing for Sharma submitted that Modi, who has been banned for life by cricket board could not have contested the RCA polls and further he has fled to London and is accused of swindling 80 million dollars.
This submission was opposed by Modi’s counsel Harish Salve, who alleged that Srinivasan is at the helm of affairs in the BCCI despite his son-in-law facing criminal case in connection with the IPL spot fixing.
The bench wanted to proceed with the opening of the sealed envelope on the ground that if Modi loses the election nothing will survive in the matter.
However, Modi’s rivals said they are aware of the outcome of the results that he is going to be a clear winner and if he is allowed to take charge as president of the RCA it will have a far-reaching consequences.
They said since Modi is already banned by BCCI from holding any position, his taking over as RCA chief would debar the state cricket association from participating in the game and will also restrict players affiliated to it from being part of the Indian cricket team in which there are two players from Rajasthan.
Further, it was argued that the observer to the election has not correctly interpreted the apex court order by changing the schedule of the polls which facilitated Modi to file his nomination paper through a power of attorney.
Interestingly, the issue of RCA and Modi was raised before it was called for hearing as the bench was seized of another dispute emanating from state cricket.
BCCI was accused by Modi’s lawyer of utilising the moment to frustrate the former IPL Commissioner, who is eagerly waiting in London to stage a come back to Indian cricket administration.
Modi’s lawyers said the poll issue was raised out of turn but the other sides responded that it was necessary as “the declaration of result will prejudice other matters (connected with RCA”.
The bench for the second time postponed the hearing and opening of the sealed envelope containing results on the controversial December 19, 2013 elections which saw Modi contesting the polls despite being banned by the BCCI for life from being associated with any cricket association.
Challenging the election, the BCCI pleaded that Modi should not have been allowed to contest the election and submitted that if he emerges victorious, he should not be declared elected to the post without hearing its objections.
The bench had on January 17 deferred opening of the result.
The BCCI has challenged the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005 allowing Modi to contest the RCA presidential election despite being banned for life by the Board.
The apex court had on November 20, 2013 made its retired judge Justice N M Kasliwal as a principal observer to oversee the elections.
It had said that “individual members shall not cast their votes and the result of the election shall be subject to the final outcome of the appeal which is pending before this court”.
The court had passed the order on a petition filed by former BCCI treasurer and ex-RCA secretary Kishore Rungta seeking the court’s direction for appointment of a retired judge to conduct RCA elections.
The Board had on December 28, 2013 decided to approach the Supreme Court.
The decision to intervene was taken at an emergent working committee meeting of the Board to discuss the possible implications of Modi’s re-entry into the RCA.
Modi was allowed to fight for the post of RCA president in the December 19 elections held under the supervision of a Supreme Court-appointed observer.
He was slapped with a life ban on September 25 last year by the BCCI after its disciplinary committee found him guilty on eight charges of “indiscipline and misconduct”.
The BCCI disciplinary committee, comprising Arun Jaitley, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, had submitted a 134-page report in July, 2013, in which it had found Modi guilty of financial irregularities, indiscipline and “actions detrimental to the interest of the BCCI.”