Polls to elect influential Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) body witnessed a high-voltage drama on Monday with former chief minister and association president Farooq Abdullah and state sports minister Imran Reza Ansari staking claim on the key position.
Ansari, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, was declared a winner when 44 association members, out of 64, voted for him in elections held in Srinagar. Twenty members, apparently of pro-Abdullah lobby, boycotted the polls.
Mehboob Iqbal Shah, who replaced Arvinder Singh Micky as new chairman, said: "The association is managed by its working committee. It decided to hold polls as per the rules."
However, former JKCA president Farooq Abdullah described the polls "illegal". "The working committee of the association is necessary to be presided over by the president and notification is issued by the general secretary. There is no provision for premature elections or no confidence motion," said Abdullah, also opposition National Conference (NC) president.
He alleged that "some elements with political motives and ambition were behind this unlawful action".
"This move is detrimental to the cause of cricket as also to peace in JKCA circles and the state," added Abdullah, who had held the JKCA president position since the past 35 years.
Abdullah, who was elected last year, said his tenure of three years is still incomplete. "JKCA is a society and cannot be interfered with by the state administration," he added in a statement issued on the letter pad of the association.
Ailing Abdullah, who rushed to Srinagar from abroad yesterday, is flying to Delhi soon to meet BCCI officials too, sources said.
A local court's stay order hours after the poll results, issued in Jammu in response to a petition filed by former chairman Micky, asked the JKCA to put the new body in abeyance.
However, the government claimed the court that issued the order has no jurisdiction in such matters.
"The state law secretary's opinion clarifies that the court that issued the stay does not hold in such matters. It has no jurisdiction in such cases," said state education minister and government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar.
Meanwhile, the new body, headed by Ansari, went ahead with opening banks accounts for themselves as office bearers of the JKCA despite the court orders.
"Ansari is new president. It is clear," said Akhtar.
Monday's events have further cornered Abdullah, who is facing charges of embezzlement in the JKCA.
In 2012, a multi-crore scam came to the surface when the then association chairman Muhammad Aslam Goni accused the JKCA general secretary Saleem Khan and treasurer Ahsan Mirza of siphoning the money by transferring into an account not related to the association.
The police established that it was known to the senior board members and was operational with their nod.
JKCA polls results
Imran Reza Ansari president
Mehboob Iqbal chairman
Javed Kitab vice chairman
Ashraf Bhat joint secretary
Rouf Ahmad Bhat treasurer
Observers: Divisional commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asghar Hassan Samoon and deputy commissioner Youth Services and Sports