Lalit Modi Begins Comeback Tour, Named Rajasthan Cricket Association President
The "disgraced" founder of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, was "declared the winner Tuesday of elections to head a state cricket association in the first step of an unlikely comeback bid," according to the AFP. Modi, who is exiled in London after his passport was revoked by the Indian government over corruption allegations, was named president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association "following elections last December after the Supreme Court allowed the results to be announced." The delayed announcement "was the result of a legal challenge" mounted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the organization "behind Modi’s fall from grace four years ago" (AFP, 5/6). The PTI reported Modi on Tuesday said that winning the polls "is the first step towards returning to the board." Modi: "It is a big victory. It has been four years since I have been fighting the previous cricket establishment at the RCA because of the deteriorating facilities." Asked whether the win paves the way for a BCCI comeback, Modi said, "I am not denying that." Modi said that his aim "is to improve the RCA's functioning." Modi: "My top priority would be to bring RCA back to its former glory. To do that we need to rectify the house within" (PTI, 5/6).
RCA SUSPENDED: IANS reported minutes after Modi was declared president, the BCCI suspended the RCA "on charges of misconduct." The BCCI cited a Supreme Court order "while suspending the RCA" and said that interim President Shivlal Yadav "took the decision under the authority vested in him by the Board's constitution" (IANS, 5/6). The PTI also reported Modi "predictably swept the polls, winning by an emphatic" 24-5 margin. Asked if the chances of Rajasthan players being selected in various national teams will be affected because of this development, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said, "BCCI is pro-player. Our endeavor will be to look after the cricketers from Rajasthan. We will be forming an Ad-hoc body which will run cricket in Rajasthan, taking care of the interest of the players." RCA Deputy President Mehmood M. Abdi claimed that Modi, despite being based in London right now, "was capable of running the RCA affairs." Abdi: "Modi will be running RCA through his executive committee. It is a shrinking world and lot of the work is done through video conferencing" (PTI, 5/6). THE HINDU reported the RCA would "challenge the BCCI's decision in the courts." Abdi: “The elections were held under the Rajasthan Sports Act. ... The BCCI has no authority to take such an action.” With the BCCI indefinitely suspending the RCA, the future of local cricketers "seemed to be in jeopardy." Abdi: “There are vested interests in BCCI that are conspiring against Mr. Modi.” Asked who these vested interests were, he said, “N. Srinivasan and his coterie” (THE HINDU, 5/6). The PTI also reported former Board and Int'l Cricket Council President Sharad Pawar "has slammed the BCCI’s decision" to suspend the RCA. Pawar: “I was shocked to hear about the decision. I think it is a very harsh decision by the BCCI. For the sake of one individual to suspend a whole organization is really shocking" (PTI, 5/6).