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HC stays BCCI election till end of hearing

Last updated on: September 23, 2005 15:36 IST

The Kolkata high court on Friday stayed the Board of Control for Cricket in India's Annual General Meeting, including the election process, till conclusion of the hearing on an appeal filed by the Jagmohan Dalmiya group.

Earlier, on Friday morning, a division bench of the Kolkata high court, comprising Justice Pinaki Ghosh and Justice N C Sil, refused to stay the election, saying they would hear the matter at 11:30 am.

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BCCI president Ranbir Singh Mahendra and the Karnataka Cricket Association challenged Thursday's order of Justice Soumitra Sen, who appointed two additional observers -- Justice K N Singh and Justice M M Punchi, both former chief justices of India.

The petitoners, seeking a stay on the BCCI election, contended that there is no need for three observers for just 30 voters.

Even a couple of hours since, not even a single item on the agenda was taken up.

The ruling combine, led by Mahendra and Dalmiya, raised questions on how the two observers (K N Singh and M M Punchi) reached Kolkata so fast, barely a few hours into their appointment by the Kolkata high court.

They also asked who booked their tickets and arranged for their accommodation at the hotel where the AGM is being held.

Dalmiya, who came out of the meeting midway, said "The ruling faction did not raise any question about the appointment of the observers. But we were only wondering as to who made their arrangements for travel and accommodation, because the Board has not done anything. Those who have made the arrangements might take the money from the Board; what is such a secret about it?"

Emerging from the meeting venue, a visibly annoyed former BCCI chief Raj Singh Dungarpur, a leading light in presidential challenger Sharad Pawar's camp, said the ruling combine was using delaying tactics.

"They are trying to stall the proceedings. But their gameplan will not succeed," he said.

Meanwhile, Mahendra came out of the AGM along with the three observers and held a separate closed-door meeting to seek clarifications on the powers of the observers, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said.

In the meeting, he also sought clarifications about the jurisdiction of the BCCI president as also the interpretation of the Kolkata high court order on appointment of the observers, Shukla added.

Commenting on the closed-door meeting, Pawar said the meeting was going on, but due to some technical reasons it had to break for a while.

Asked about his chances in the presidential elections he replied: "This year we have had good rains and the harvest will be good."

"We are becoming a joke because of the ambitions of one man [Dalmiya]. He is manipulating everything," Dungarpur said, adding the legal battle would continue.

"Top lawyers Fali Nariman and and Harish Salve are not in the country, but if Sharad Pawar speaks to Salve, he will come down to fight the case," Dungarpur said.

About an e-mail Chappell is supposed to have sent to the Board, he said, "Mr Ganguly has not exactly helped Mr Dalmiya with his antics."

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