Jagmohan Dalmiya is a man who plays his cards close to his chest. Rarely does his body language give away anything. He has spent the last few years planning a campaign like never before, perhaps the most important campaign of a battle-scarred career, one that will re-establish his pre-eminence in the world of cricket and more importantly, clear his name of the damage done to it.
On Wednesday, even as he drew blood in his war against the current BCCI administration, there was no sign of celebration as he faced the media, after the Kolkata High Court directed that a criminal complaint be filed against six senior BCCI officials for false statements under oath.
He remained stoic, even somber. "I am happy, my stand is vindicated. I have faith in the judiciary. I did not deserve it (the expulsion from the board) and it was uncalled for. I believe truth and honesty prevail. In democracy, either I have to win by polls, while the second option is to take the legal path," said Dalmiya.
Many of Indian cricket's most vicious battles have not been on the cricket field, they have been played out in hotel rooms and board rooms over BCCI meetings. For years, it has been a battle between the Dalmiya and anti-Dalmiya (Sharad Pawar-led) factions. While Dalmiya himself was unwilling to go into details of his court battle and what will happen next, members of his legal team believed that the former BCCI president was on a firm wicket.
"This is the rarest of rare cases, where the high court itself has said that the offenders had presented documents with the intention of misleading the court," one of the five lawyers to have fought for Dalmiya said, unwilling to be identified. "If you submit false documents, it is a serious issue."
If proved guilty, the offenders can face a sentence of three to seven years, he reckoned.
"The most significant point here is that the court itself has ordered an inquiry. In that sense, the complainant in this case is the high court itself."
The story began in 2006, when the BCCI expelled Dalmiya and restrained him from contesting any election of any club affiliated to it on the ground that he was involved in misappropriation of funds of the Pakistan-India-Sri Lanka Committee, which organised the 1996 World Cup. The High Court last year stayed Dalmiya's expulsion and said the BCCI’s documents were not certified copies. Dalmiya had then filed a perjury case.
The world will be waiting to see what happens next. After all, what is at stake here is the pride and reputation of world cricket's richest and most powerful body and the heads of the men who rule it.