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Lalit battle shifts to apex court

Jaipur, Dec. 19: The Rajasthan Cricket Association today held its four-yearly elections with former IPL czar Lalit Modi vying for president, but the battle has now shifted to the Supreme Court.

The apex court will decide when or whether to announce the results of the court-monitored polls after the next hearing, on January 6, of an eight-year-old petition by former state cricket chief Kishore Rungta against the Rajasthan Sport Act.

It’s this law, which applies to all sports body elections in the state, that the apex court-appointed observer had cited when he allowed Modi to contest the elections over the protests of the national cricket board.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has banned Modi for life over alleged financial irregularities, had threatened to blacklist the state association if Modi were allowed to contest.

The state association today wrote to the BCCI that it had conducted the elections under the state law (Rajasthan Sports Act) and in keeping with the apex court’s orders relating to Rungta’s petition and the decisions of the court-appointed observers, PTI reported.

Modi had ousted the Rungtas, who had run Rajasthan cricket for decades, in the 2005 election after the state’s then BJP government used the state sports act to confine the voting rights in the cricket body to only the 33 district representatives. Rungta moved the apex court against the act after losing in the high court.

Today, both the supporters of Modi and his rival, Ram Pal Sharma — a loyalist of incumbent state cricket chief and Congress Union minister C.P. Joshi — claimed victory in the elections, held for four posts.

The votes of four of the 33 districts were kept in a sealed envelope as they have cases pending over their presidents’ appointments. These votes will be considered only if there’s a tie.

Modi has been in London the past few years and has had his passport revoked for failing to answer summons in an Enforcement Directorate financial probe.

Asked about his possible return, his lawyer Mahmud Abdi said: “There are threats to Modi and his family’s lives from the underworld; that’s why he is apprehensive about returning.”