Despite being banned for life by the cricket Board, former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi today defiantly filed his nomination for the December 19 Rajasthan Cricket Association elections, prompting a livid BCCI to threaten suspension of RCA for letting him back.
Modi's nomination papers for the post of RCA President were filed by his lawyer Mehmood Abdi, who himself is aiming for the vice-President's post in the elections scheduled on Thursday.
Abdi was accompanied by Amin Pathan, the secretary of Kota District Cricket Association and a close confidante of Modi, to do the paperwork on the last day of nominations. The scrutiny would be done tomorrow while December 18 is the date for withdrawals. The polling would be held on December 19 between 11 am to 2 pm.
However, a livid BCCI has a shot off a letter to incumbent RCA President C P Joshi, who has decided against contesting the polls.
"We find that the Nagaur Cricket Association has allowed Lalit Modi as President. We wish to remind you that as per the BCCI rules and regulations, all the members, including RCA, are bound to follow the decision taken and directives issued in the interest of BCCI, especially those related to disciplinary proceedings," the letter from BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel stated.
"The RCA stands to lose its rights and privileges as BCCI member if the expelled administrator of BCCI is allowed to remain an office-bearer of one of your district units. Therefore, kindly comply to BCCI directives and report the same to us," it added.
As things stand, Modi can get elected unopposed in the polls given that nobody has filed a nomination for the top post apart from him. His faction already claims to have the support of 24 district units out of a total of 33.
Modi was banned for life by the BCCI from all cricket matters in India after being found guilty of financial bunglings during his stint as IPL Commissioner but the suspension was stayed by the Rajasthan High Court in October only to be pulled back recently.
Modi's legal counsel had claimed that since the RCA was governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act, the BCCI ban was not applicable on the former BCCI vice-president.
"He has security concerns so we won't be seeing him here for some time but he can contest," said Abdi after filing the nomination.
Asked if the RCA would be run with Modi in absentia in case he goes on to win the polls, Abdi said, "There is no need for him to be physically present all the time, he has a team under him and it can work under his guidance and leadership."
"Even Mr C P Joshi was not there all the time in office, we can in fact count the number of days he was there in office," he added.
It is worth recollecting that it was with the then BJP CM Vasundhara Raje, a Sports Act was formulated to pave way for Modi and oust the Rungta clan from RCA in the 2005 elections. With Raje taking over as Rajasthan CM, Modi seems to be regaining his foothold. There are 33 voters (districts) that make up the electoral list and only an office-bearer of a district association is eligible to contest the election.
According to the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005 that governs the RCA, only the president, secretary and treasurer are the valid office-bearers.
Talking to reporters after filing the nomination papers, Abdi claimed that his client Modi was eligible to contest RCA elections. "I have said umpteenth times that Lalit Modi is eligible to fight RCA elections. His name is already in the eligibility list as president of Nagaur District Cricket Association. Moreover, RCA is governed by Rajasthan Sports Act 2005. BCCI is simply a registered body and its bylaws cannot prevail over the law of land. As far as the BCCI threat is concerned we would think about it as the situation arises," said Abdi.
"The change in political scenario has prompted Lalit Modi to fight elections because BJP CM Vasundhara Raje had been very positive during her first tenure and we hope to continue with same positive relationship," Abdi said, adding that Modi's fight with the BCCI would continue.
Other persons from Modi camp who filed nominations today include Somendra Tiwari for secretary's post and Pawan Goyal as a candidate for the post of treasurer.
Surprisingly, the nominations filed by Modi group did not include the names of incumbent secretary Sanjay Dixit and also that of deputy president Bimal Soni.
Announcing the list of nominations filed for the 21 posts of the RCA Executive Committee, Election Officer B L Gupta said, "Our Job is to conduct elections as per the rules of RCA and also in accord with the Sports Act prevailing here in Rajasthan. What happens to RCA and what BCCI does is their own matter."