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Decision on Lalit eligibility today

Jaipur, Dec. 17: Hours of meetings and arguments today failed to resolve whether former IPL chief Lalit Modi would be able to contest Thursday’s election for Rajasthan Cricket Association president against the express wishes of the national cricket board.

After Supreme Court-appointed observer N.M. Kasliwal deferred a decision till tomorrow, the Modi camp, which claims it has 28 of the 33 votes, said it would approach the courts if his candidature was scrapped.

Kasliwal had been appointed to oversee the election sometime ago after a former Rajasthan cricket chief petitioned the apex court citing the state association’s history of controversy-ridden polls.

This election heated up yesterday after Modi, banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India over alleged financial bungling, filed his nomination and the board retaliated by threatening to strip the state body of its rights and privileges.

Today being the day of scrutiny of nominations, Kasliwal was huddled from morning till late evening with some 15 lawyers, some representing Modi and the rest his rival for the post, Ram Pal Sharma.

Sharma, who belongs to the faction of Congress leader and current state association president C.P. Joshi, raised three objections against Modi.

One: Modi has been out of India the past three years. Two: his passport has been revoked (for failing to answer a summons from the enforcement directorate, which is probing him for alleged financial irregularities).

Three: Modi is ineligible to contest the state association election since the national board has banned him.

Modi’s lawyer Mahmud Abdi argues that the state body’s elections are governed not by the bylaws of the national board, which is a private body, but by the Rajasthan Sports Act, under which Modi is eligible to contest.

Amin Pathan, secretary of the Kota District Association and a Modi confidant, said: “If the BCCI had objections against Modi’s candidature, they should have stopped him at the outset. They knew Modi was interested and would go for it.”