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Supreme Court keeps on hold Lalit Modi’s return as Rajasthan Cricket Association chief

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Supreme Court keeps on hold Lalit Modi's return as Rajasthan Cricket Association chief
Supreme Court keeps on hold Lalit Modi's return as Rajasthan Cricket Association chief Despite being banned for life by the Cricket Board, Mr Modi had defiantly filed his nomination for the elections on Dec 16 which prompted a livid BCCI to threaten suspension of RCA for letting him back. Retired justice Narendra Mohan Kasliwal, the judge appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the RCA elections as a principal observer, accepted Mr Modi’s candidature for the top post, rejecting the arguments put forth by his rival, Rampal Sharma’s lawyer. Bhilwara District Cricket Association secretary, Sharma, a close aide of incumbent RCA president C P Joshi, had objected to Mr Modi’s candidature on the ground that the RCA stands to lose its rights and privileges as BCCI member if Mr Modi was voted to power. The judge also cleared the nomination of another Modi aide Pawan Goyal, secretary of the Alwar District Cricket Association, to contest the elections for the Treasurer post.

The Supreme Court on Monday did not declare the results of the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections held in Jaipur on December 19. It effectively keeps on hold Lalit Modi’s return as Rajasthan cricket chief. The apex court is hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by former RCA president Kishore Rungta, who has challenged the controversial Rajasthan Sports Act that enabled Modi to contest the RCA presidential elections. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is also backing Rungta’s petition.

On December 28, the BCCI decided to “intervene” in the SLP filed by Rungta in the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan Sports Act, 2005 that abolished individual members’ voting rights. The Act allowed only district associations to vote. In 2005, Modi had beaten Rungta by just one vote to become the RCA president. Modi ruled the RCA from 2005 to 2009.

Rungta, whose family ruled the RCA for a number of years, challenged the Sports Act in the High Court in 2005 but his application was rejected. Rungta then filed a SLP in the Supreme Court in 2007.

The RCA, which is governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act, had ignored a BCCI diktat and went ahead with the elections that were supervised by Supreme Court-appointed former judges NM Kasliwal and SP Pathak. The former judges had cleared Modi to contest. The RCA elections were held in Jaipur on December 19 but the results were not declared due to legalities. The Modi group claims to have the support of at least 29 of the 33 district units.

The BCCI is angry that the RCA allowed Modi to contest despite the life ban on the former Indian Premier League commissioner. Modi was banned in September 2013 after a probe committee found him guilty of financial wrongdoings. Modi has also challenged the Board’s ban in court.

Last week, the BCCI decided to move the Supreme Court. Board members feel Modi’s return as Rajasthan cricket chief will tarnish the image of Indian cricket. Modi lives in the UK and his supporters feel he can easily run Rajasthan cricket from there.

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