Within hours of Lalit Modi being declared as the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association in Jaipur on Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to indefinitely suspend RCA and appoint an ad-hoc body to run its cricket affairs. This is likely to trigger a new round of legal battle between the Board and the banned former Indian Premier League chairman, Modi.
In a letter to RCA, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said the association was being banned as per Clause 32.7 of the Board's constitution. The decision was taken by BCCI's interim president Shivlal Yadav. According to the BCCI's constitution, any affiliated unit defying the Board's image can be suspended. Modi has been banned by BCCI although the former IPL boss has challenged the decision in court.
"The BCCI President has indefinitely suspended RCA from participating in any BCCI activity. The decision has been taken as per the constitution clause No. 32, sub-clause 7, where the president has the right to suspend an association, which doesn't conform with the rules and regulations of the BCCI. The decision was taken by interim president Shivlal Yadav," Patel said.
Asked if the chances of Rajasthan players being selected in various national teams will be affected because of this development, Patel said: "BCCI is pro-player. Our endeavour 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." Currently, two players, Ashok Menaria and Abhimanyu Lamba, are playing in age-group national teams.
The BCCI and former RCA chief Kishore Rungta are vehemently opposing Modi's return. Although Modi was formally declared RCA president by a court-appointed observer on Tuesday, the Board has been allowed to challenge the controversial Rajasthan Sports Act that enabled Modi to contest for the president's post for a second time. Modi first became president of RCA in 2005.
Ahead of the December 19 elections in Jaipur, the BCCI had threatened to suspend RCA for letting the banned Modi contest the polls. But after the Supreme Court allowed Modi to contest, the BCCI had to beat a hasty retreat. The BCCI even conceded 'defeat' in court after the votes were submitted to the top court in a sealed envelope.
Bimal Soni, a deputy president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, feels the BCCI's fight with Modi is an "individual" one. While BCCI can take on Modi in the court of law, the Board has no right to ban RCA, feels Soni. "As far as RCA is concerned, Modi is a democratically elected president and enjoys three-fourth majority," said Soni.
Although banned by BCCI, Modi is free to run the RCA from exile, said Soni, adding that when Modi was president in 2005, he was based in Mumbai, not Jaipur. "He barely came to Jaipur twice a month. It doesn't matter where Modi resides," Soni said.