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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

BCCI secretary questions selection of independent committee members to probe Rahul Johri scandal

In the letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, the secretary has made it clear that the CoA dealt with the whole issue in the most cavalier manner and the delayed action led to a situation wherein the committee didn’t inspire confidence.

cricket Updated: Oct 27, 2018 15:59 IST
Baidurjo Bhose
Baidurjo Bhose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
File picture of Rahul Johri
File picture of Rahul Johri(AFP/Getty Images)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has in a scathing mail questioned the role of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) in the whole Rahul Johri fiasco. While the CoA did order an independent probe in the matter, it was only after seven state associations made it clear to the committee that they wanted a clear picture on how the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Johri was being handled by the CoA.

In the letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, the secretary has made it clear that the CoA dealt with the whole issue in the most cavalier manner and the delayed action led to a situation wherein the committee didn’t inspire confidence.

“Media reports leave none in doubt that the issue regarding the matter of sexual harassment has been dealt with in the most cavalier manner. And if there had indeed remained any doubt about it, the same was removed with the media release of late the night before last, strangely sent out after much of India gone to sleep.

From the very beginning, the actions of COA did not inspire confidence, beginning with the fact that it took upon itself the task of adjudicating the matter when the matter should have justifiably been referred there and then to an independent committee, duly constituted. And then days of inaction even upon the submission of the so called explanation, ostensibly trying to take a view in the matter,” he wrote.

ALSO READ: Former Mumbai captain wants BCCI to act tough after another sexual harassment complaint against Rahul Johri

The secretary also questioned the role of CoA chief Vinod Rai and said that under no circumstance can he take unilateral decisions. This becomes all the more important after Diana Edulji — the other member of the committee — made it clear that she wanter the CEO removed after allegations of sexual harassment were levied against him.

“The Committee of Administrators was constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as a four member body and one of the members of the said committee was made the chairman to convene its meetings and preside over them. The position of the Chairman was only that of first among equals and no additional or superior powers had or have been conferred upon the Chairman by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Presently, the committee comprises two members and both members are equal in status for all purposes. That being so, the Learned Chairman has no power or authority to prevail over the views of the other esteemed member and take decisions unilaterally on behalf of the CoA or on behalf of the BCCI.

“The media advisory issued by the BCCI and the subsequent reports clearly lay down that one member of the Committee of Administrators was decisive in the matter that there was enough material warranting strict action against the CEO. The learned Chairman, on the other hand, decided to have further inquiries,” he wrote.

The secretary further questioned how exactly the independent three-member committee was formed and who chose the members. He goes on to add that with Diana and Rai having a different opinion on the whol issue, the formation of the independent probe committee comes under scanner.

ALSO READ: BCCI internal complaints committee chairman Karina Kripalani resigns

“The media release says a committee comprising three persons will look into the matter without informing how the committee was constituted or who chose its members. In view of the admitted position of one member completely disagreeing with the Chairman, the esteemed member could hardly have had anything to do with the constitution of the three member enquiry committee. This makes the enquiry committee further suspect,” he wrote.

Amitabh feels that in the present scenario, the matter should have either been referred to the Supreme Court or the general body of the BCCI.

“In view of the clear divergence of views of the two members of the COA, the only recourse available was to refer the issue to either the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India or to the General Body. Interestingly, two of this three member enquiry committee are disqualified in terms of the limitation of 70 years of age, laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 09.08.2018.

“A committee stricken with such infirmities from its inception is hardly expected to dispense any real justice and is bound to be seen with great suspicion. The undersigned most humbly desires that a solution be immediately be found in view of the points noted above,” he signed off.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 15:53 IST