Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi received a shot in the arm on Wednesday after a Supreme Court-appointed observer cleared his nomination to contest for the post of president in Thursday’s Rajasthan Cricket Association elections in Jaipur.
Despite being banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Modi had defiantly filed his nomination for the elections on December 16 which prompted a livid BCCI to threaten suspension of the RCA for letting him back.
Retired justice Narendra Mohan Kasliwal, the judge appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the RCA elections as a principal observer, accepted Modi's candidature for the top post, rejecting the arguments put forth by his rival, Rampal Sharma's lawyer.
Bhilwara District Cricket Association secretary, Sharma, a close aide of incumbent RCA president C P Joshi, had objected to Modi's candidature on the grounds that the RCA stands to lose its rights and privileges as BCCI member if Modi was voted to power.
The judge also cleared the nomination of another Modi aide, Pawan Goyal, secretary of the Alwar District Cricket Association, to contest the elections for the Treasurer post.
Kasliwal arrived at the decision after hearing counsel for both the parties earlier on Wednesday.
Opposition lawyer argued on three points: Modi's passport has been revoked by the Mumbai Regional Passport Office following the probe by the Enforcement Directorate; he can't run the day-to-day affairs of the RCA sitting in London, and he can't contest the RCA elections as per the BCCI's rules and regulations, which say all the members, including RCA, are bound to follow the decision taken and directives issued in the interest of cricket board, especially those related to disciplinary proceedings.
However, lawyer Abhinav Sharma, appearing for Modi, countered that since the RCA is governed by the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005, the BCCI ban is not applicable on the former BCCI vice-president; there is no need for him to be physically present all the time and he can run the management of the RCA from London; and that the client (Modi) has not received the copy of probe report submitted against him to BCCI till date.
Image: Lalit Modi