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Former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi has resigned as the President of the Nagaur District Cricket Association thereby effectively putting an end to his association with the now-banned RCA (Rajasthan Cricket Association). Modi, in a letter sent to Rahul Johri, the BCCI CEO, which he also shared on Twitter, requested the board to release the funds reserved for the RCA.
"I feel that the time is now ripe to pass on the baton to the next generation. Thus, today I want to bid goodbye to cricket administration for now," the 51-year-old wrote in his resignation letter.
"For Rajasthan to aim higher, we need funds from the BCCI which is our rightful share. I have done my part for the betterment of Rajasthan cricket, and now it is your turn to honour your part of the promise! I repose my faith in you and the BCCI to do the right thing.
"I would, therefore, request you to release the funds due to RCA as soon as possible. I believe it was blocked precisely because of my presence. With my exit from all forms of cricket, at all levels, forever, I think RCA deserves to reclaim their share and presence on the Indian cricket map," he added.
In case you didn't know...
Modi was credited for the genesis of the Indian Premier League (IPL) the franchise-based T20 league that has become the annual T20 cricket extravaganza since its inception in 2008.
In 2010, however, the Rajasthan-based administrator was accused of money laundering and rigging the bidding process and was subsequently expelled from the BCCI.
The Enforcement Directorate had also initiated an inquiry into the money laundering case, and Modi has since been living in exile in London as he faced financial violation charges in India.
The administrator had refused to let go of his position in the RCA, however, and it had led to the BCCI banning the association in its entirety.
Settling old scores and digging up graves, Modi called for the same level of investigation into the corruption charges levelled against former BCCI and ICC President N Srinivasan as was initiated against him seven years ago.
"While demanding high levels of probity and propriety from some is certainly laudable, I wonder why the same standards are not applied to some like Mr. N Srinivasan. After all, Indian cricket administration is in a state of upheaval because of Mr. N Srinivasan," Modi questioned.
"The highest court of the land, Supreme Court, has ticked him off too for his involvement in Indian cricket and has also asked him to stay away. On the contrary, I continue to be penalized for a crime that I have not committed, even after being cleared by all the investigating agencies.
"But Mr. N Srinivasan continues to attend BCCI meetings, despite apex court's scathing observations. It does seem that while I have been expected to live up to higher standards by even exiting from all forms of cricket, the same rule is not applied to Mr. Srinivasan," he added.
Modi also gave the final touch to his soon-to-end legacy as a cricket administrator by crediting the IPL -- his brainchild -- for its massive success over the years and for the money surplus that the league has added to the BCCI's coffers.
"Dear Fans of cricket & the lifeline of the game. I want to take this opportunity 2 thank each & every one of you for making @IPL what it is," Modi tweeted.
Despite Modi's resignation, the road ahead for the RCA is anything but smooth. The BCCI had earlier stated that a 'course correction' needs to be in place for the estranged board to get its affiliation back.
The board had demanded that all the cases against it be dropped by the RCA -- which were levelled under the Modi regime -- but that was not the only issue at hand.
After the ban, 75 domestic players had filed a petition in the Rajasthan High Court against the BCCI's diktat in September 2014, complaining that the ban had essentially put them out of employment.
The Court had, on October 2 the same year, paved the way for successful participation of these players in the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments; although, they were directed to represent a new team named 'Rajasthan XI' with a new selection committee at all levels.
If the ban on the RCA is lifted, the fate of these players and the administrators might once again be in question.
After years of controversial escapade, Modi's resignation helps the cause of the RCA, for whom he had become, despite his highly-placed stature, a roadblock to development. Modi's step should be welcomed, but at the same time, it must not be forgotten that he's been mired in corruption charges and is on the run.
The BCCI should also look to soften its stance with respect to the RCA, now that the thorn in their eye has decided to call it quits, and think about the future of the domestic cricket in Rajasthan.
The state had also been robbed of its IPL team after the Rajasthan Royals were suspended for two years in 2015 owing to their failure to check the spot-fixing activities under their roof. They are likely to be back for the 11th season of the league in 2018.
Interestingly, one of the three cricketers accused of spot-fixing charges has effectively been declared 'not guilty.' S Sreesanth was relieved of all charges by a sessions court earlier and now the Kerala High Court has asked the BCCI to lift the ban imposed on him.
Modi's resignation letter can be read here:Published 12 Aug 2017, 21:18 IST