Supreme Court axes BCCI president Anurag Thakur; victory for cricket, says Lodha
The Board of Control for Cricket president Anurag Thakur and its secretary Ajay Shirke have been sacked by the Supreme Court today. For failing to implement the reforms suggested by the RM Lodha panel, the BCCI will now have an observer, who will be appointed on January 19. Get highlights of today’s Supreme Court proceedings here.
12:59 hrs IST: The names of Sourav Ganguly and Brijesh Patel are doing the rounds as the next BCCI president. While Ganguly is the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, Brijesh Patel has run the Karnataka State Cricket Association for a number of years. Ganguly’s CAB was one state unit that was willing to implement the Lodha reforms. The former Indian captain was also part of the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel that probed the 2013 IPL betting and spotfixing case.
12:30 hrs IST: Both BCCI vice-presidents have to give an undertaking that they will abide by all the Lodha panel recommendations. The BCCI has five vice-presidents -- ML Nehru (North Zone), Dr G. Gangaraju (South), Gautam Roy (East), TC Mathew (West) and CK Khanna (Central).
Interestingly, when N. Srinivasan was asked to step aside as BCCI president during the IPL spot-fixing and betting hearing in 2015, the Supreme Court had appointed senior VP Shivlal Yadav to run the Board’s affairs. Sunil Gavaskar was asked to oversee the IP affairs that year.
12:11 hrs IST: “This is the logical consequence. Once the recommendations were accepted by the court, it had be implemented. There were obstructions, there were impediments ... obviously this had to happen, and it has happened,” former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, the chairman of the Lodha Committee, said after the court order on January 2. “The Supreme Court itself has ensured that its order of 18 July is now enforced. It’s victory for the game of cricket and it will flourish, administrators come and go, ultimately it is for the game.”
1208 hrs IST: Ajay Shirke remains defiant even after getting the sack. He tells a TV channel: “The court has asked me and Anurag to leave. That is fine. I don’t regret anything. I have no personal ambition.” Shirke added: “I hope the new administration runs the BCCI well.”
11:57 hrs IST: The Supreme Court decision means the BCCI will have to enforce age and tenure caps and implement the one-state-one-vote formula. Mumbai Cricket Association’s Sharad Pawar has already resigned as Mumbai president. N. Srinivasan of Tamil Nadu and Niranjan Shah of Saurashtra, both above 70 years, will now have to relinquish their positions. Justice Lodha says, this decision by the Supreme Court will act like a template for all sports federations in India.
11:45 hrs IST: Supreme Court asks former Solicitor General of India and senior lawyer Fali Nariman and Gopal Subramanium to assist in selecting an observer for BCCI. The apex court has once again reiterated that all reforms suggested by Lodha panel have to implemented in full. The reforms were made binding on the BCCI in July 2016, but the BCCI kept defying them.
11:40 hrs IST: No one is above the law of the land, says former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha. Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke had failed to “fall in line” with the court’s orders.
11:35 hrs IST: Supreme Court to appoint observer for BCCI after two weeks. Till then, two senior vice-presidents of the BCCI will run the Board affairs.
11:33 hrs IST: Supreme Court also removes Ajay Shirke as BCCI secretary. The court said: Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke should “forthwith cease and desist from” the board’s work. The bench was headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, who is retiring this week.
11:30 hrs IST: Supreme Court has removed Anurag Thakur as BCCI president.
11:25 hrs IST: The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, is likely to appoint former Union home secretary, GK Pillai. The Committee had suggested removal of the BCCI office-bearers and the appointment of Pillai in its status report. In the last hearing, amicus curiae and senior lawyer Gopal Subramaniam recommended the names of Pillai with ex- Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai and former Test cricketer Mohinder Amarnath to run the BCCI.
11:02 hrs IST: Despite all the court hearings, Indian cricketers have been in great form on the field. Anurag Thakur is rightly very proud. “We are the number one team in Tests, number two in T20s and number three in ODIs. Look at the performance of our junior team where they are in the finals of the Asia Cup. Our women’s team has won the Asia Cup. So where are shortcomings? Pressure is being created unnecessarily on us,” Thakur has said. But the court is not very happy with the high-handed and defiant attitude of the BCCI top brass.
10:55 hrs IST: The BCCI has always been against implementing the Lodha panel reforms. These were made binding by the Supreme Court. The BCCI has called several meetings but never reached a decision on implementing the changes. “The members do not agree to implement three-four recommendations as they are not practical. To convey this, we sought time but the committee is not giving us time for the last two months,” Anurag Thakur complained.
10:40 hrs IST: Anurag Thakur has strongly denied that he has lied under oath to the Supreme Court. Apparently, he had asked the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar if the appointment of a member of CAG in the apex council of BCCI amounted to government intervention in BCCI affairs. “There is no question of perjury and I have not lied,” Thakur had told reporters on December 21.
10:35 hrs IST: The appointment of an observer or panel of observers will mean the powers of Anurag Thakur and his team will be clipped. Anurag Thakur could also face a case of perjury.
10:00 hrs IST: The Supreme Court order on how BCCI will implement the Lodha committee is expected to be delivered at 10:45 PM. This could be a landmark judgement.
Here’s a list of the 10 main developments of the case.
February: Former Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice, Mukul Mudgal, the one-man probe panel, submits initial report to the court.
November: Justice (retd) Mudgal, submits final probe report to the apex court, indicating improper conduct by Chennai Super Kings and its top official, Gurunath Meiyappan, and Rajasthan Royals and its co-owner, Raj Kundra.
January 22: SC appoints three-member panel of retired judges, headed by former CJI, RM Lodha, to further probe and decide on punishments to CSK and RR and Meiyappan and Kundra, over illegal betting allegations. It is also tasked with recommending reforms in the BCCI administration to usher in transparency.
July 14: The Lodha panel recommends life bans for Meiyappan and Kundra from any cricket-related activity and slaps two-year suspensions on CSK and RR, expelling them from Indian Premier League 2016 and 2017.
January 4: The Lodha Committee report is released, and makes sweeping recommendations to reform BCCI. Key directives are one-man, one-post, one-state, one-vote, age limit of 70 years, appointment of Apex panel to run administration, turn five-man selection panel to a three-member committee, appointment of a CEO to take day-to-day running off the board out of the hands of office-bearers.
April 5: SC slams the cricket board, calls it a ‘mutual benefit society’ which distributes huge sums to its units without asking how they spend the sums.
April 14: Lodha panel sends 82 questions to BCCI, asking to explain how it runs cricket in India.
July 18: Supreme Court bench headed by CJI, TS Thakur, ratifies the Lodha panel report and orders the BCCI to implement it.
August/September: Lodha panel issues timelines, asks BCCI to hold elections for the Apex Council.
September: BCCI defies Lodha panel, names five-man selection committee. On September 28, Lodha panel in its status report recommends superseding the Board top brass.
October: SC orders restriction on BCCI spending or distributing funds to member units if they don’t implement Lodha panel recommendations in full.
Anurag Thakur files affidavit, denying he sought an ICC letter to the effect that the Lodha directives amounted to government interference. ICC chairman Shashank Manohar in his affidavit says Thakur asked for the letter.
November: Lodha panel recommends removal of BCCI office-bearers and appointment of former union home secretary, GK Pillai, as observer.
December 16: CJI Thakur tells Anurag Thakur that he could be proceeded against for perjury, for lying under the oath over his affidavit. BCCI lawyer, Kapil Sibal, tells court there has been some ‘misunderstanding’.