BCCI hits out at Lodha panel, says it has ‘hurt’ Indian cricket
In a hard-hitting affidavit submitted to the court ahead of the December 5 hearing, now to be held on Friday, BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke have in separate affidavits contended that the panel was not interested in meeting them despite the court’s directions given on October 21.
The affidavit said Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary of the panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, had communicated on November 29 that further instructions would be given to the Board but that didn’t happen.
With the BCCI insisting that the parent body and most state units oppose key administrative reforms suggested by the panel, the Lodha Committee, in a third status report, has recommended an administrative purge.
However, the affidavits by Thakur and Shirke contest this, website cricinfo has reported.
“The Lodha Committee has not complied with the directions of this Hon’ble Court and its inaction has had a crippling effect on the BCCI and has hurt India cricket and the BCCI tremendously. The present status report also underscores the fact that the Lodha Committee does not want to interact with the BCCI or its office-bearers in order to understand the complexities of Indian cricket administration. The said status report in fact acknowledges that the Committee does not have the expertise to administer Indian cricket,” it quoted the affidavit as saying.
‘Panel to run day-to-day affairs’
The Lodha panel has said the BCCI should first implement the recommendations in full. It has recommended to the Apex court that former union home secretary, GK Pillai, should be appointed observer to run the board and that the panel will not run the day-to-day affairs of BCCI.
Thakur said in his affidavit: “The Lodha Committee cannot shift the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the BCCI to another third party who does not have any expertise of running cricket in India and has no established administrative credentials in this field.”
Thakur submitted to the court that the panel by not guiding BCCI has brought things to a “grinding halt” and “tremendously hurt” the image of Indian cricket.
Thakur and Shirke also contested the eligibility criteria listed by the committee. The Lodha report says a person will be ineligible if not an Indian citizen, was 70 years or older, was a minister or government servant, held a post in any other sports body, or had been a BCCI office-bearer for a cumulative period of nine years.
“Removal of democratically elected office-bearers of the BCCI or State Cricket Associations who have been elected in accordance with the statute governing their elections will not result in any benefit to the game of cricket and shall instead paralyse administration immediately creating great chaos in the game,” Thakur said.
He said the removal of office-bearers as proposed by the panel is “not a part of the memorandum of either the BCCI or the State Cricket Associations in totality. In fact some of the recommendations set out in para four of the status report are not there in the memorandum proposed to be adopted by the Lodha Committee and have only now been added.”
The recommendations, he said, “shall have the impact of severely weakening the cricket administration all over the country and shall make the BCCI a weak organisation that is not able to represent itself in international forums,” Thakur’s affidavit added.