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Dalmiya victim of power abuse: Court

Bombay HC has virtually given the ex-BCCI chief a clean chit for the time being, reports Kadambari Murali.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 04:26 IST

In what could have grave implications for the current BCCI regime, the Bombay High Court has virtually given former board president Jagmohan Dalmiya a clean chit for the time being, while granting him and others anticipatory bail in the misappropriation of funds case.

The order -- though passed on April 10, its written copy was made available only on Monday night -- has also questioned the motive and timing of the current regime in going after Dalmiya and raised questions over the Maharashtra government's role in this.

While saying "There is therefore, at the moment, no material to indicate, prima facie, any case of misappropriation as alleged by the complainant", Justice VM Kanade has also written: "Brooding omnipotence of the State machinery being available at the disposal of the complainant also cannot be ignored."

The actual complainant in the case is board secretary Niranjan Shah but he was merely a representative of the BCCI itself -- an obvious reference to the clout of board president Sharad Pawar.

The HC has pointed out that in the case of irregularities in the withdrawal of £5,000 from the PILCOM 1996 World Cup account -- an allegation made by the BCCI against Dalmiya -- the case was thoroughly investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement and the RBI, and Dalmiya was "exonerated from all charges".

It doesn't end here. The court said, "The complaint does not appear to have been filed bona fide". And added: "…there appears to be a grain of truth in the allegation of the petitioner Shri Dalmiya that the complaint was filed hurriedly without affording reasonable opportunity to him and was a ruse to remove him permanently from the competition."
 
This last remark is also very damaging as Dalmiya has consistently maintained that the current BCCI regime has embarked on a vendetta and a witch-hunt to ensure that he does not return to power.

While the court's scathing remarks on the BCCI will obviously give Dalmiya & Co a huge fillip when the actual case comes up for hearing, the board will probably take solace from one thing. The judge has said that if further evidence can be provided substantiating the BCCI's allegations, the State can try and get the bail order cancelled.