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BCCI Getty Images

Miffed at alleged “derogatory statements” by advocate Puneet Bali against the northeastern states, the Manipur Cricket Association has written a letter to the BCCI, requesting the Board to restrain its legal counsel from making unsavoury remarks.

Manipur CA secretary Singam Priyananda Singh, in his letter to BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary (a copy of which is in possession of PTI), wrote: “The comments of Puneet Bali have caused widespread anguish and anger not only within the concerned associations but also hurt the sentiments of the cricket loving people in the north east — NADP (New Area Development Project) states in particular.”

Priyananda said Bali’s arguments in the Supreme Court was racially discriminatory in its tone and content.

“It is extremely surprising to note that although Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim are also members of BCCI, the said lawyer representing the BCCI in context to ‘One State One Vote’ issue was heard arguing against the interest of the 05 NE-NADP states in a manner which borders on racial discriminatory tone and content,” Priyananda wrote.

The BCCI has been a divided house as to how the northeastern states will be inducted into top flight from this year. The technical committee has given a go-ahead and there may be a Ranji Trophy second division in which the northeastern states along with Bihar will take part.

The BCCI is currently thinking on these lines in order to integrate them into the system before throwing them at the deep end of the pool.

Priyananda also alleged that Bali, despite being a BCCI lawyer, was arguing in the apex court with “ulterior motive to deny NE states” their rights.

“I fail to comprehend as to how a lawyer appointed to defend and protect the interest of BCCI and its members is advocating against the development and interests of the members of NE states; with ulterior motives of denying us the rights of full members recommended in the Justice RM Lodha report,” said Priyananda.

He urged Choudhary to keep a check on the arguments of Bali’s tone and tenor.

“I would also request you to kindly intervene and restrain Puneet Bali and other officials of BCCI, if any, from whom he takes and brief and advice of what to present in court, from making defamatory remarks against our state, in future , during his submission in Supreme Court.”