While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is trying its best to resist complete implementation of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, it has been over a month now since Anurag Thakur & Co decided to discontinue the services of retired Justice AP Shah as the ombudsman to look into complaints of conflict of interest.
Shah’s one-year tenure ended at the BCCI’s 87th Annual General Meeting held at the Cricket Centre on September 21.
At that time, BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said they were looking for a fresh appointment.
“The fresh appointment includes everything — it could be extension, it could be new but that is to be decided. We have other urgent matters which we need to address before that. We will focus on that. Simultaneously we will look into that (ombudsman appointment) also,” Shirke said.
Since then, the Chief Justice of India, CS Thakur, has kept the BCCI top brass on their toes, and, as a result, the appointment of the new ombudsman has been given a slip.
The role of ombudsman is one of the many Lodha Committee recommendations that the BCCI has implemented. It is intriguing that the BCCI has delayed the ombudsman’s appointment, instead deciding to hurriedly process financial transactions and other appointments.
It has been learnt that Shah has received “10 to 12” conflict of interest related complaints in the last couple of months. “While some were related to older cases, there were a few fresh complaints as well,” a BCCI source told Hindustan Times.
Shah has not entertained any complaints since the BCCI decided to end his term.
“We had high hopes that conflict of interest will finally be eradicated from the game. Ideally, the BCCI should have allowed the ombudsman to continue till the time fresh appointment happened. The BCCI too should have taken cognizance of the non-implementations of the ombudsman’s orders. Otherwise, what is the point in appointing an ombudsman if his orders will not be taken seriously?” asked a complainant.
Shah, during his tenure, delivered a verdict in 38 conflict of interest cases. However, not all rulings of his were implemented as highlighted by HT on August 31.
In fact, Shah followed it up with the BCCI on the non-implementation of some of his orders after the complainants brought it to his notice.
According to Shah, his one-year tenure should have ended in November. The BCCI, though, chose to end it two months in advance.
Shirke was non-committal when he was asked whether the new ombudsman would look into the cases that were under Shah’s investigations. “That decision will be communicated by the BCCI,” Shirke had said.