M A I N   N E W S

Ranbir elected BCCI chief
Sharad Pawar cries foul
Subhrangshu Gupta

Kolkata, September 29
After a day-long drama, the BCCI AGM was ultimately held around after 5 p.m. to elect the BCCI board and the president. Around 7 p.m., Dalmiya’s nominee, Ranbir Singh Mahendra, BCCI vice-president, was elected by casting of Dalmiya who was presiding since both Mahendra and Pawar obtained 15 votes each.

The election was conducted on the total 29 votes out of 31 eligible as voters. But two of them, one from Maharashtra and another from Rajasthan were rejected following claimants of both as true representatives of the state cricket control boards.

The NCP supremo, Mr Sharad Pawar, said his defeat in the election was ensured through unfair means, but ruled out going to the court against the outcome. Speaking to mediapersons, he said one of their genuine votes “was deliberately negated.”

The election ends the on-going power struggle in the BCCI between Jagmohan Dalmiya and his adversaries: between the cricket management baron and the political heavy weight: between the two Cricket Control Boards in Punjab and Haryana.

Pawar had with his side Punjab’s I.S. Bindra, the former BCCI chief and Raj Singh Dungarpur, the two stalwarts in the anti-Dalmiya group.

Interestingly enough, Dalmiya himself had chaired today’s AGM and conducted the elections following the sudden stay order issued by the Chennai High Court on the former Supreme Court Judge S. Mohan’s conducting the elections.

The Chennai lower court today simultaneously issued another stay order today on Dalmiya’s appointment in the BCCI as Patron-in-Chief following a writ petition filed by one of his adversaries.

Yesterday, there were late night hectic electioneering activities by both the groups and claims and counter-claims on the outcome of the elections. At one stage, there was an attempt to avoid election. But it did not materialise.

Today’s morning, all the members were present at Taj Bengal hotel, the venue of the AGM and Justice Mohan, the former judge of the Supreme Court to oversee the election as per the court’s order.

But Dalmiya soon entered the meeting room with a copy of the fax message of the Chennai High Court, making a stay order on Mohan’s presiding over the meeting and conducting the election.

Hence, the AGM was postponed till 2 p.m. for the original document of the court’s order to come. But at 2 p.m. when the meeting was re-convened, the members were informed that the court’s order was yet to reach and accordingly, the meeting was once again deferred till 4 p.m.


Zee gets shot in the arm
BCCI performing duty of State: Centre
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 29
Zee TV got boost in its fight with the Board of Control for Cricket with the Union Government today indicating in the Supreme Court that its argument would be that the board was performing the duty of a “state”.

The government statement will strengthen the case of Zee that its writ petition, filed under Article 32 of the Constitution, against the BCCI was maintainable for enforcing its fundamental right against the board as the latter was performing public duty in managing the game.

The indication about the argument to be taken by the government was given by Aditional Solicitor-General (ASG) Mohan Parasaran during today’s proceedings.

Mr Parasaran told the Bench, headed by Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde, that the board came under the purview of the definition of “state” under Article 12 of the Constitution.

This came as a surprise to the BCCI, whose counsel K.K. Venugopal told the court that the government should be asked to clarify as what its actual stand was as it had taken contradictory positions on the issue in the Delhi and Bombay High Courts.

“The Secretary in the Ministry of Sports in its two affidavits before the Delhi and Bombay High Court has made different statements. In the Delhi High Court he had stated that the BCCI is a private body and in Bombay High Court he said it is performing a public function. How can the government hold two views on the same issue,” Mr Venugopal asked.

The position taken by the government was seen by legal experts as a setback to the BCCI as its counsel had yesterday strongly defended the status of the board as “purely a private” society registered under the Societies Act. The BCCI had taken a stand that it was free from any interference of the Centre, was not getting any financial assistance from it and did not have any government nominee on the board.

The Union Government counsel is expected to take up his arguments tomorrow to explain its position in details.

To pre-empt the government move, the BCCI, meanwhile, placed on record a brief affidavit today contending that it has never been accorded any express “recognistion” by the government or any of its agency.

It added that the government or any of its authority had no say, whatsoever, in the affairs of the BCCI.Back

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