Former India women cricketers named recipients of a one-time cash incentive have been left holding the boards presented to them in a ceremony while the actual cheques are held up due to the feud between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials and its Committee of Administrators.
The court-appointed CoA’s move to reward six former women players ahead of the IPL opening ceremony in Mumbai on April 12 has proved the latest point of friction with the BCCI officials.
The women players were handed ceremonial replicas by former India skipper Ravi Shastri during a brief function at the Wankhede Stadium, but the real cheques haven’t been issued due to lack of clarity over approval.
Deepa Kulkarni, Sangita Dabir and Arundhati Ghosh got Rs 25 lakh each while Behroze Edulji, Sunita Singh and Vrinda Bhagat were given Rs 15 lakh each.
‘CoA didn’t follow procedure’
A top BCCI source, however, claimed the CoA took the decision without following procedure. As a result, the BCCI secretary and treasurer are yet to give their assent. Board CEO Rahul Johri reportedly gave his clearance for payment when he later learnt about the issue.
The players have been caught in the crossfire. “The CoA is supposed to only oversee (administration). By awarding cheques to women cricketers, they have taken a policy decision. That can be done only through a general body meeting. The BCCI officials weren’t apprised of it, so they haven’t given their approval,” a Board source privy to the deliberations between CoA and BCCI officials said.
“The cheques went to the treasurer (Anirudh Choudhary), who asked for the approval of secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and the CEO. The CEO gave his approval only on Thursday after he learnt about it. But there is no intimation from the secretary so far. Therefore, the treasurer hasn’t approved the amount.”
‘No norms flouted’
However, Johri told HT: “The cheques have been approved by the CoA, and it is the supreme body. They will be approved in due course. The CoA’s decision is mentioned in the minutes of the meeting where the decision was taken.”
Board officials feel the CoA rushed into it and could have at least adopted the procedure it followed while announcing cash prizes of Rs 50 lakh for the men’s team members for the Test series win over Australia. They just made the announcement without handing cheque replicas.
The incentive to women cricketers has become further embroiled in controversy after it was learnt that CoA member and former India skipper Diana Edulji’s sister Behroze was rewarded despite having played just one Test. She didn’t play any ODI. Others in the Rs15 lakh category, Sunita Singh (2 Tests, 18 ODIs) and Vrinda Bhagat (2 Tests and 11 ODIs) have better credentials.