Hardik Pandya show cause notice signed by CEO Rahul Johri; BCCI officials bemused
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials are surprised that the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) felt that it was correct for CEO Rahul Johri to sign the show cause notice that was sent to all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul for their inappropriate conduct in the chat show Koffee With Karan. While Pandya’s comments were downright sexist and misogynistic, Rahul was a part of the same show wherein he made a few inappropriate comments as well.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, a senior BCCI official said that it couldn’t have been worse considering that the CEO just had to appear before an independent committee to clear his name from allegations of sexual harassment.
“To get Johri to sign a notice to be sent to someone for an act that disrespects women is like engaging Mahmud of Ghazni to head a task force on peace and religious tolerance,” he smiled.
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Another official echoed the sentiments. “That was quite some call. Did not have anybody else?” the official enquired. “Please be mindful of the fact that even in the case of Johri a committee that was irregular had been constituted and that too irregularly and serious doubts were cast on the functioning of even that committee and if judicial precedents are anything to go by, any finding by that committee, whether it be of guilt or innocence would be void. Even the finding that the CoA did not handle the in-house incident concerning Johri in accordance with the provisions of the POSH Act would be void.”
In his response to the show cause, Pandya said he did not realise that his comments would be found offensive or disrespectful. “I made an appearance on the chat show where I have made certain statements without realising that these could be disrespectful and offend sensitivities of viewers for which I am sincerely regretful,” he wrote.
“I would like to assure you that there was no malice or any sort of ill-intent on my part to offend anyone or portray any section of the society in bad light. I made these statements in the flow of the show and had not comprehended the extent to which my statements would be found offensive.
“Rest assured I hold the BCCI in highest regard and will exercise complete discretion and prudence to ensure that such incidents are never repeated in future.”
Earlier, speaking to Hindustan Times, former BCCI General Manager (Game Development) Ratnakar Shetty — currently associated with Uttarakhand as BCCI nominee — had made his displeasure known. “This is disgraceful and not acceptable from someone who represents the country and I will be writing to the Committee of Administrators so that these things are not repeated. I have also tweeted how I feel,” he had said.
Pandya had also put out a post on social media which read: “After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way. Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect.”