Thatscricket - News - Cricket: Ex-ICC chief Dalmiya plots coup to unseat Muthiah
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2001, 16:16 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Dalmiya confident of unseating Muthiah as chief
Chennai: World cricket's controversial former chief, Jagmohan Dalmiya, hopes to wrest control of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) this weekend in a bitter election that has caught the attention of political heavyweights.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Dalmiya, 62, is vying for the presidency of the cash-rich BCCI against incumbent A C Muthiah in the high-profile annual elections here on Saturday.The election will also determine the future of irrepressible BCCI secretary Jayawant Lele, whose working relationship with Muthiah hit a low ebb after he publicly conceded Dalmiya was "his leader".Dalmiya, whose three-year term as president of the International Cricket Council ended last year amidst the match-fixing furore, is embroiled in a federal investigation over unfair deals in awarding television rights for major events.But that has not deterred the canny Calcutta-based businessman from attempting to oust Muthiah and realise his long-held ambition of heading the richest sports body in the country.Dalmiya has never held the top post in the BCCI although he was in absolute control of its affairs as secretary until 1998, when he took over as ICC president.Muthiah, who is eligible to contest a third term as president, is however confident he can pull the faction-ridden BCCI on his side and keep Dalmiya on the sidelines.Muthiah, who runs a petro-chemical empire in this southern city, claims support of 18 of the 31 affiliate members who attended a campaign dinner hosted by him in New Delhi earlier this week.The BCCI, which boasts fixed deposit assets worth more than $ 35 million, has often been run by politicians eager to bask in the limelight of the high-profile body.Dalmiya believes Muthiah has undermined the authority of the autonomous BCCI by his failure to curb the government's interference in the match-fixing crisis and the contentious issue of playing against arch-rival Pakistan.The federal Central Bureau of Investigation's probe into corruption in cricket last year led to life bans for former Test captain Mohammad Azharuddin and ex-international Ajay Sharma, plus a five-year ban on current star Ajay Jadeja.The government also repeatedly rejected moves to organise cricket matches against Pakistan, who it accuses of arming and training Islamic guerrillas in the disputed region of Kashmir.If Dalmiya cannot muster the required numbers on Saturday, observers believe it could signal the end of one of the most colourful and influential careers in Indian cricket administration."It's a make or break election for Dalmiya," a BCCI member said, refusing to divulge whose side he was on. "Saturday could see some dramatic developments."