BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry questions decision to conduct women coach’s interview despite discord in CoA
CoA co-member Diana Edulji had even asked BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim to put the process of interviewing candidates on hold, but the direction fell on deaf ears.Updated: Dec 20, 2018 17:46 IST
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has questioned the whole process of appointment of the next India women’s team coach in a scathing letter on Thursday, even as potential candidates appeared for their interviews. But it all started moments after Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai issued a BCCI release stating that the interviews for the next India women’s coach will be conducted on December 20 at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. CoA co-member Diana Edulji immediately told Hindustan Times that the ad hoc committee — Kapil Dev, Anshuman Gaekwad and Shantha Rangaswamy — didn’t have her approval, clearly highlighting the discord between the two members.
Edulji had even asked BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim to put the process of interviewing potential candidates on hold, but the direction fell on deaf ears. But the whole difference in opinion has now seen the treasurer bring forth a set of questions for the CoA to answer.
In a letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, Anirudh has questioned if the move to ignore Edulji and go ahead with the process of appointing coach by the CoA is against the very terms of reference of the CoA as established by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. He feels that a member of the CoA appointed by the SC is being circumvented and is of the opinion that an enquiry must be carried into this strange turn of events.
“The email sent by Diana Edulji, member of the CoA, which was copied to the office bearers as well, has touched upon some very fundamental issues. It has given us an unprecedented insight in to the working of the CoA, the professional management and the legal team of the BCCI. I regret to state that it does not paint a rosy picture about the state of affairs with regard to the administration of the BCCI. To put it mildly, the decision making seems irregular, the outcome of which may prove to be illegal. The execution, blind or otherwise, of those decisions casts serious doubts on either the intention or the competence of those who execute it.
“It is understandable that the two members may not agree on a point or two. However, in such a case, the situation is that of a deadlock. In such a case of a deadlock, the management has followed and executed the views of one member of the CoA and ignored the views of the other. This is an extremely serious transgression which means that someone in the management has taken the call to violate the terms of reference of the CoA as established by the SC and possibly as a matter of convenience, chose the view that suited the individual or the group of individuals behind the decision,” he wrote.
He then asks the CoA how such a move was allowed where an individual to ignore the order of the SC. He also added that all signings of cheques and clearance of payment in case there is a deadlock in any other matter would then amount to Audit Objection and he wanted a clear picture on how such a matter should be dealt with.
“Who amongst the management has this much of courage to patently ignore the orders of the SC and has anyone given him or her the protection to do so? What have been the steps taken post the email of Diana Edulji? As an organisation, we need to get to the bottom of this. I have not seen or heard of a single opinion from legal or any of the Senior Advocates that permits a scenario where one member of the CoA can act independently of the other on behalf of the CoA. Let us be fair and accept that in the absence of a decision of the CoA as a committee taken after following the due process, any decision by a member of the CoA is a dissent with the other member’s decision and nothing conclusive comes from that in a two-member committee.
“The execution of either of the decisions by the BCCI’s management in such a case is strife with irregularities and any expenditure on such execution on behalf of the Board is irregular and a potential Audit Objection, and a strong one at that. Who would be debited with the amount spent from the Board’s coffers on such a decision? From whom will this amount be recovered? Is this financial prudence? This also raises a very serious question of whether this is a corrupt practice or no. This present method of decision making which is being followed reflects very poorly on all the people involved and I write this as the honorary Treasurer to register my protest because we have a duty to the organisation and a duty to the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” he wrote.
Coming back to the issue of the appointment of the coach, Anirudh also pointed at the whole manner in which the matter was discussed with the Cricket Advisory Committee — Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. As per GM Cricket Operations Saba Karim, the trio had been approached, but they weren’t available for the process. But Anirudh had another question for the people concerned.
“On or about the 4th of December, the email trail suggests that the process to decide the modalities of the process of the selection of the women’s coach was being decided. Saba Karim, as per his email, verbally asked VVS about this and he declined and Saba had a panel ready and Rai was ok with the panel. Does nobody else find it strange that Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman, gentlemen who gave their all for the game of cricket either feel that they need more time or they do not wish to get involved? Did anyone bother finding out why this is the case? Did they find it demeaning that they were asked to do a job a year and a half back and were possibly let down ultimately by ever changing goal posts of their job during that period? Is there any other reason? When were the CAC asked about their availability? Prior to December 4 or post the date?” he enquired.
Anirudh goes on to ask that with the SC agreeing to hear the matter on January 17, wasn’t it more appropriate to wait till then to avoid legal hassles. “Would it not be appropriate to wait till the 17th of January, i.e. the next date of hearing before the SC and keep the present matter of coach Selection in abeyance till then and have either (Ramesh) Powar continue or have someone else take charge till then? It would avoid unnecessary legal issues and unwanted controversy.
“Since there is no decision of the CoA in the matter of the selection of the coach, the process and an appointment if any in the present facts and circumstances, are without jurisdiction and without authority and an appointment that may be a result of this process can in no manner be called an appointment for and on behalf of the BCCI. Therefore, who pays for the process? If any payment is made to a candidate from the BCCI accounts, who is to be debited for the same?” he enquired.
Interestingly, the treasurer also points at how the senior advocate appearing for the office bearers on a previous date of hearing had requested the SC to induct additional members into the CoA to fill up the vacancies created by the resignation of two of its members, but the senior advocate appearing for the CoA had strongly opposed the request.
The treasurer signed off by saying that the questions and views of his should in no way be misinterpreted in any manner to undermine the members of the irregularly constituted ad-hoc committee and he ‘emphatically’ stated that his communication is not in any way intended to be a judgment on the choice of the candidates.