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IPL petitioner Aditya Verma writes to PM Narendra Modi, seeks fair probe against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri

In the letter accessed by Hindustan Times, Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Verma has spoken about the point of contact given to the investigation committee reports to Johri.

cricket Updated: Oct 31, 2018 16:29 IST
Baidurjo Bhose
Baidurjo Bhose
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
bcci,coa,vinod rai
File image of Board of Control for Cricket in India CEO Rahul Johri.(AFP/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed a three-member committee to independently investigate the alleged allegations of sexual harassment against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri. As the committee — headed by Justice (Retd.) Rakesh Sharma — gears up to start the probe on Thursday, IPL petitioner Aditya Verma has now written to the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to intervene and ensure that the enquiry against the CEO is carried out in a fair manner.

In the letter accessed by Hindustan Times, Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Verma has written to the PM that he feels CoA chief Vinod Rai is trying his best to ensure that Johri gets a clean chit in the matter. He has also raised the point that despite Rai’s co-member in the CoA — Diana Edulji — wanting to terminate the contract of the CEO, Rai decided to unilaterally form a committee and decided to pay the three members Rs. 1.5 lakh per day — Justice Sharma, Barkha Singh (former Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women) and Veena Gowda — rather than approaching the SC for directions.

“It is unfortunate that despite the severity and volume of the allegations against Rahul Johri, Rai has been hell bent on trying to save Rahul Johri. It is pertinent to note that even though the CoA is now reduced to a two member committee, there was a deadlock amongst them as to the course of action regarding Johri in these circumstances. One member, Diana Edulji, wanted to terminate his contract while Rai wanted to save Johri and wanted an independent committee to deal with the issue.

“Sir, when there was a deadlock, the only option left to the CoA was to approach the Hon’ble Court for directions, instead, Rai unilaterally formed a committee and has decided to pay the three members Rs. 1.5 lakh per day. This is a blatant move to attempt to protect Rahul Johri. The other member expressed her dissent. The same is borne out in a media advisory issued by the CoA,” he wrote.

Verma then writes about how one member from the initially formed committee had a conflict of interest and that led to Veena Gowda replacing him. “It is also pertinent to mention that the people have no confidence in the committee that has been constituted unilaterally by Rai and one of the members of the said committee was P.C. Sharma, a former CBI Director, with whom Rai has a strong personal relation and whose son-in-law is a lawyer on BCCI’s monthly retainer. When this fact was known, Sharma hastily withdrew from the committee,” he wrote.

The CAB secretary also brought to notice the strange plan of action decided upon in the whole matter as per the terms of reference for the committee. Verma says that as per the as per the terms of reference, available on the BCCI website, the point of contact given to the committee is also something that needs a re-look as it erodes all confidence in the process.

“The one point contact for the committee is a lady who reports directly to Rahul Johri and the lady who is assigned the task of making logistical arrangements for the committee members is none other than the Executive Assistant of Johri. This has further eroded all confidence in the process and the committee,” he wrote.

As per the terms of reference of the committee as published by BCCI, Karina Kripalani is designated as a contact person for the committee to seek any assistance on any aspect from the BCCI and/or the CoA. Nirmal Kaur is designated as a contact person for the Committee to seek any administrative or logistical assistance on any aspect from the BCCI and/or the CoA. Karina Kripalani and Ms. Nirmal Kaur shall both maintain utmost confidentiality in respect of all matters connected with the enquiry and shall report directly to the CoA for any permissions/approvals in this behalf.

Verma signed off by requesting the Prime Minister to ensure that an independent probe is set up in the matter by the Supreme Court to ensure that justice is delivered to the victims.

Attempts to get in touch with Rai failed as he did not respond to calls or message from Hindustan Times.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 16:25 IST