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Since 1st March, 1999
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Lalit plays ‘good’ boss

Jaipur, Feb. 1: Lalit Modi today offered an olive branch to his rival in the Rajasthan Cricket Association but sought to assert his authority.

RCA chief Modi said secretary Subhash Joshi, whom he had yesterday divested of all powers for allegedly overstepping his limits, could come to office without any authority.

Joshi had come up with a new constitution that cut Modi’s powers and vested them with the board’s executive committee. He got the move approved by 26 of 32 districts that make up the cricket board.

Speaking at a news conference, Modi accused Joshi of having gone beyond his authority, but tried to strike a conciliatory tone by saying he was willing to work with the secretary “for the benefit of cricket”.

Modi made it clear the board’s elections, which Joshi got the association’s members to schedule for February 22, would have to wait till the Supreme Court ruled on his plea. He iterated that members of the association could not change its constitution “overnight”, as they had allegedly done at Joshi’s behest.

Modi was summoned by police yesterday to record his statement on a complaint that he had misused board money. He said the Rs 22.80 lakh was deducted by the Indian cricket board for a match in 1997 and had been “credited back” to Rajasthan association’s account. “It is not such a big issue as it is being made out to be. This happens quite often.”

On the allegations that he forged signatures to buy land from a farmer in the state, Modi said: “I am ready to undergo forensic tests. Take my thumb impression and send it to the lab.” Under RCA rules, a person must be a native of Rajasthan, a state employee or have permanent property in his or her district to head the association.

Modi said he hoped for co-operation from the Ashok Gehlot government, which is probing a string of land deals including those involving the cricket boss.

“I have worked with different regimes in Rajasthan and why only Rajasthan, seven other states during the Indian Premier League but didn’t face such problems anywhere else,” Modi said.

Later, chief minister Gehlot denied suggestions his government was behind Modi’s troubles. “It is a dispute between RCA members and has to be settled among them. Only if the matter gets out of hand will we intervene.”

“Our government has no hand in other forgery cases cropping up. We’ll always welcome IPL matches and provide full co-operation.”

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