Controversial former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi was SaturdayÂ unceremoniously ousted from the president's post of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) with a rebel group led by local BJP leader Amin Pathan taking over the reins.
On a day of hectic developments, Pathan was elected as the Acting President by the majority of the members in an extraordinary general body meeting, bringing a dramatic end to Modi's tenure almost five months after he was elected to the top post.
It is learnt that 23 out of the 33 district cricket associations of RCA supported the move to remove Modi, who has been banned for life by the BCCI but came back as the chief of state association with an overwhelming majority in May this year.
With BCCI imposing a ban on RCA following Modi's election as its president, there was an impasse on the future of state's cricketers on their participation in the BCCI affiliated tournaments. Modi's sudden ouster also paves the way for RCA's smooth return into the BCCI fold. It will also ensure regular annual grants for the body as well as Sawai Man Singh Stadium getting its quota of IPL and international matches.
In view of the stalemate, Rajasthan High Court, in a recent judgement, formed an Ad-Hoc body of three separate selection committees to choose the various state teams for BCCI tournaments.
However, with RCA still remaining banned by the BCCI which hampered its smooth functioning, there was an unrest among members with a lot people supporting Pathan, a BJP leader from Kota, who is also the district association president from the region. It is also learnt from sources that Pathan had the backing of the Vasundhara Raje Scindia led state government which wanted the RCA to function smoothly with the co-operation of the BCCI.
"We passed a no-confidence motion against Lalit Modi today. 23 out of the 33 district cricket associations of RCA supported the move to remove Modi. In the meeting we also removed Pawan Goyal (treasurer) and Mehmood Abdi (Deputy president)," Pathan said after the meeting.
"Sunday we will go to the BCCI and seek their advice on the future course of action," he said. He said that the players will be able to play in various domestic tournaments.
"The teams will represent Rajasthan, but not under the usual banner of the Rajasthan Cricket Association. But the players' future would not get hampered," he said.
The elections in RCA was held in December last year but the results were announced only in May this year in the wake of a prolonged legal tussle.
The BCCI had banned Modi after its disciplinary committee found him guilty. The former IPL boss was accused of misappropriation of funds during the second and third editions of the cash-rich league.
While Modi's confidante Mahmood Abdi ran the show and took up the battle for his boss with the BCCI convincing 75 players of various age-group to file a case against BCCI, four of the prominent cricketers including a former India U-19 captain, a Test player and an India A player along with an IPL player did not sign on the dotted lines making it clear that all was not well within the RCA.
"Four senior players Pankaj Singh (Test), Ashok Menaria, (U-19 and India A), Robin Bist (India A) and Dishant Yagnik (Rajasthan Royals) did not sign the legal document when RCA moved court against BCCI. So it's not that all players were happy with the functioning of current regime," a top RCA official said.
Repeated calls to Abdi went unanswered, while no other member close to Modi was willing to comment on the development. It is also learnt that BCCI's convenor for Rajasthan Amrit Mathur visited Jaipur a few days back to take stock of the situation and also spoke to the anti-Modi group. "It wasn't a sudden move as it was done with a lot of thinking and anti-Modi faction kept BCCI in the loop", the official said.
BCCI's GM (Game Development) Ratnakar Shetty reached the city to finalise the dates of the selection committee meetings as well as inform that RCA will be able to host all its home Ranji Trophy matches in the state. While there are possibilities that Modi and Abdi might take legal recourse against this move, the ruling group is planning to hold an election and come to power with proper mandate in a few months time.