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Ganguly hits out at Dalmiya

In a reversal of sorts, Sourav Ganguly has launched an attack against his long-time mentor Jagmohan Dalmiya, accusing the former cricket board chief of "playing" with his career.

Ganguly, who lost his place in the Indian team after a spat with Greg Chappell, the coach, chose the upcoming presidential elections for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) to hit out at Dalmiya, facing a challenge for the post from Prasun Mukherjee, the police commissioner.

Currently playing county cricket for Northamptonshire, Ganguly, trying to make a comeback into the national team, sent an email to his brother Snehashish supporting Mukherjee. The email was released by Mukherjee at a press conference in Kolkata. Ganguly said in the email: "People who leak e-mails and sacrifice players' careers should be heavily punished. There are people in CAB who are playing with players' careers to suit them. They should not be allowed to go scot-free as it takes years of hard work to reach a certain level in sports."

Complaining of unethical practices in the CAB, Ganguly also expressed satisfaction at the stand taken by the West Bengal chief minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, who openly said that Dalmiya should stay away from the CAB presidential race. "I am happy that the Chief Minister and people concerned are addressing the issues and working towards the right path," Ganguly wrote.

Ganguly's email, which also accused Dalmiya of leaking Chappell's controversial email to the board in September last year, comes as a major boost to the dissident faction ahead of the polls on July 30. Chappell's email, which contained damning criticism of Ganguly, created a furore after its contents appeared in a Bengali daily in the midst of the board's Annual General Meeting.

Ganguly's outburst is the latest twist in the drama for control of the CAB, where Dalmiya is facing a determined challenge from dissidents being backed by Bhattacharjee and other former Ranji Trophy cricketers from Bengal. Ganguly's message in support of the police chief comes a day after Subhas Chakraborty, the West Bengal sports minister known to be soft on Dalmiya, admitted his failure to dissuade him from contesting the elections. Chakraborty's statement had been interpreted as a confirmation that Dalmiya was prepared to fight it out in the polls.

Chakraborty, who had been directed by the chief minister to convey his stand on the CAB polls to Dalmiya, also said that his attempts for a compromise between the two factions had not borne fruit. The police commissioner had filed his nomination yesterday, while his close lieutenant and former Bengal cricketer Raja Venkat threw his hat in the ring for one of the two joint secretaries' posts during the day, which also saw Dalmiya filing his nomination for the top post.