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BCCI-CoA feud stoked over naming of anti-corruption chief, official’s extension

The appointment of former Rajasthan DGP Ajit Singh as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) saw the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) at odds yet again.

cricket Updated: Mar 31, 2018 23:37 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ajit Singh,Anti-Corruption Unit,Board of Control for Cricket in India
The appointment of former Rajasthan DGP Ajit Singh as head of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) saw the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) at odds yet again. (BCCI)

Be it appointment of an official or extension for another, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) continue to be at loggerheads.

The latest clash became evident on Saturday after BCCI announced the appointment of former Rajasthan DGP, Ajit Singh, to head its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), succeeding Neeraj Kumar. The latter will continue as advisor until May 31, coordinating with his successor during the Indian Premier League.

Papers and letters accessed by Hindustan Times show that the appointment was delayed by around three weeks as BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary did not sign on the relevant papers. Eventually the CoA asked CEO, Rahul Johri, to sign.

According to the timeline, Choudhary was informed about the nomination on March 8. Two days later, he sought information about the “procedure followed” and other details.

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Johri provided them on March 20. A week later, Choudhary was reminded of the pending issue by BCCI’s legal team when he was at BCCI’s Mumbai headquarters. A letter from CoA to Choudhary said the appointment was urgent as IPL 2018 starts on April 7.

Choudhary confirmed the appointment was made without his consent, PTI reported. “I must at the very outset express my gratitude for being relieved from the burden of authorising an appointment which is not supported by law. In this connection, it is my view that the CEO’s email did not even remotely address the concerns which relate to the process and source of power which had been invoked while taking a decision in the instant matter,” Choudhary had replied to the CoA.

“It is clear the power and authority to make appointments for and on behalf of BCCI can only be traced to the extant Rules and Regulations of the Board which are still applicable till the proposed constitution pending consideration before the Honourable Supreme Court of India is adjudicated.”

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Former Chief Justice of India, Justice RM Lodha, whose panel gave the report for reforms in BCCI, said: “There is a lack of understanding of the need to move forward, especially with the officials. The problem is so many powers are at work within BCCI.”

The other issue that has caused friction is the CoA’s refusal to give another extension to Prof Ratnakar Shetty, whose tenure as General Manager (game development) expired on Saturday. He was appointed Chief Administrative Officer on September 28, 2006, for five years. Later, he was named GM for two years, till September 2014. After multiple extensions, he was given a final extension till March 31 with CoA head, Vinod Rai, making it clear no further extension would be given.

However, Choudhary recommended a three-month extension for Shetty to manage the “India vs England women’s series as well as IPL” and the England tour of the men’s team. It “will be of great help if an old hand remains with BCCI just before the lean period starts,” he said. BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhury backed his colleague, but the request was turned down.

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The question is with so many office-bearers, does BCCI need a superannuated official? A well-placed BCCI official said if they had given Shetty another extension it would mean “the current BCCI office-bearers were an incapable lot” and “in any case, Shetty had little to do with IPL”.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 23:17 IST