Lalchant Rajput was removed from the CIC on February 18. © Getty
Lalchand Rajput, the former head of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), has made startling allegations against the board’s officials, including interference by the secretaries in the playing XI of the Mumbai team during this season’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
In his mail to the Ethics Officer of the association seeking reinstatement as the CIC head, Rajput (59), has said that the selectors are willing to testify on his claim.
The MCA had dissolved the Rajput-led CIC on February 18 stating that the members were in conflict of interest. Raju Kulkarni and Sameer Dighe, both former India players, were the other two members of the CIC.
“The selectors are willing to testify the interference e.g., inclusion of two players in the 20 selected by senior team selectors for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 (SMAT) after BCCI allowed 22 players due to Covid, instead of 20,” Rajput said in his petition, seen by Cricbuzz.
“The same two players were included in the XI in some matches of the SMAT. Also a left-arm bowler, who was not in the original 20, who was a No 11 batsman, was made to open the innings in the SMAT (sic).”
Rajput also alleged that the secretaries of the association, Sanjay Naik and Shahalam Sheikh, have also interfered in the appointment of coach, stating that they had appointed Amol Muzumdar without authority. “This was a blatant violation on the part of the secretaries to interfere in the working of the CIC,” he stated. Eventually, Ramesh Powar, a recommendation of Rajput, was made coach of the Mumbai team.
Refuting the allegation of conflict of interest, Rajput said no conflict of interest has been pointed out or explicitly mentioned in the letter, dated February 18. He also said even if the conflict were to assumed, the secretaries had no power to decide on it. “The power and authority, as per the constitution clause No 39 is given to the Ethics Officer,” he pointed out.
Naik and Alam were not immediately available for reaction but an MCA member said the two had acted as per the general body advice. “Rajput, in association with a few past and present members of the association, held a meeting and wrote to the newly-appointed Ethics Officer. After he was removed, Mumbai won the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The two secretaries will defend themselves,” the member said.