NEW DELHI: Under pressure to implement the Justice RM Lodha committee recommendations, an Indian cricket Board panel is going slow on its probe into a payment of $900,000 (approx. Rs 6 crore) made in 2013-2014 to a British spy company for alleged surveillance on fellow officials.
“This is a serious issue. We all want to know who ordered the payment. But this is not the right time to focus on it because any adverse finding will go against BCCI as it will back the Lodha observations on transparency and accountability in the Board,” a senior BCCI official said on Wednesday.
The allegation is that the BCCI, during N Srinivasan’s tenure as president, hired UK-based security and investigations company, Page Protective Services, and the then board secretary, Sanjay Patel, had issued the ‘work order’.
The issue was raised during the AGM last November following which senior members Ajay Shirke and G Gangaraju were asked to conduct a probe. The panel was not given a deadline, but only asked to find who ordered the payment and complete the probe at the earliest.
“We are still working on it and we will submit our report whenever we complete it,” Shirke, now the BCCI secretary, told HT.
Page Group works with companies in providing due diligence checks on agents, subsidiaries and joint venture partners. HT has learnt that BCCI has written to the company to give details of the information it handed over to the earlier regime as it is Board property.
Deposing before the panel, Patel and BCCI treasurer, Anirudh Chaudhry, who held the post under Srinivasan as well, have denied that fellow members were the target of snooping. According to sources, they told the probe panel that the company was hired to protect the Board’s interests and to counter sacked IPL chief Lalit Modi, who was releasing Board documents in social media.
“If that was the case, we are interested to find from where e-mail exchanges between Shashank Manohar (then BCCI president) and Lalit Modi and the (then) secretary’s (Anurag Thakur) pictures with an alleged bookie were circulated to a section of the media.” a BCCI official had told HT in December.
Modi tweeted in February that someone in the BCCI had authorised a London agency to mount 24-hour surveillance on Justice Mukul Mudgal during his trip to London in connection with the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal probe.