Who granted Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul permission to appear on Koffee with Karan? BCCI treasurer asks CoA
The behaviour of India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul has not gone down well with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry. In a letter addressed to the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, the treasurer has said that the apology from Pandya is insincere and also applauded CoA member Diana Edulji for asking for a legal suggestion before deciding on handing the duo the necessary punishment. He also added that along with CEO Rahul Johri, the entire team should also be asked to go through a sensitization process.
In the letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, Anirudh starts by saying that while his opinion has not been asked for, he feels strongly about the issue and wishes to express his views. He also talks about how the matter of Steve Smith and David Warner was handled for bringing the game and the board into disrepute and wants an example to be set so that Indian cricketers do not act irresponsibly in the future.
“I have not been asked to opine but this is a subject that I feel very strongly about and therefore I wish to express my views on the subject. I appreciate the step by Diana Edulji to seek the views of the legal team as it is absolutely essential that the correct procedure is followed in dealing with this situation since a faulty procedure would mean risking that the decision is vitiated ab-initio as was the case in the matter pertaining to the Madhavan Committee in the match-fixing matter in 2000 and in the matter pertaining to the 2013 IPL issue where the findings of a committee consisting of two former High Court
judges were held to be void and which culminated into the proceedings that led to the appointment of the Justice Mudgal Committee and subsequently the Justice Lodha Committee,” he wrote.
“The entire team and support staff must go through a sensitization process. The CEO may join them in the sensitization as well as recommended by Veena Gowda, advocate.”
While he revealed that he hadn’t seen the show cause notice, he was certain that the game and Indian cricket had been brought into disrepute with their behaviour in the chat show Koffee With Karan.
“Though I have not seen the show cause notice, I presume it mentions the provisions under which the same has been sent. The players who appeared on the show have definitely brought the game and Indian cricket and cricketers into disrepute by their words and admitted conduct. The consequences for bringing the game of cricket into disrepute are definitely something which will have to be considered.
“If I remember correctly, Warner and Smith were banned for a year for bringing the game into disrepute and in conducting themselves in the manner that they did. While the ICC punished Smith for the offence of tampering with the condition of the ball with the maximum sanction available of a one Test ban, Cricket Australia banned him for a year. It would be pertinent to note that the CoA had, in those facts and circumstances, also taken the decision to ban those players for the IPL 2018. Therefore, there is a precedence of the CoA having taken a decision in a case where the game had been brought into disrepute by players who were not even playing in the jurisdiction of the BCCI when the incident occurred,” he pointed.
Anirudh went on to add that since he didn’t have the current player contracts, he wanted the same and went on to add even under the previous provisions, a contracted player needed to seek permission and if that is the case, who had given them the permission since sports journalists aren’t given access, but Karan Johar was.
“I do not have the latest version of the BCCI contracts available with me and request that a copy of the same be provided to me. However, the provisions of the earlier contracts and the practice in place would have required these contracted players to seek permission to appear on the show. Was such a permission sought? Was such a permission granted? If so, by whom? It is very unfair that sports journalists who are essentially the people who bring the sport and the stories surrounding the sport to the fans and play a part in ensuring the popularity of the sport, do not get access to these players for interviews but Karan Johar was able to get the access.
“I would like to clarify that I have nothing against Johar or anyone appearing on any show hosted by him or anyone else but I question the situation where the sports journalists are kept at bay while access to the players is given to entertainment shows,” he wrote.
Anirudh also wrote about the need to keep the act against sexual harassment at workplace in mind while deciding on the future course of action against the players.
“The intent of the Parliament in enacting the Act number 14 of 2013, The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 has to be kept in mind by us. What also has to be kept in mind is whether the punishment, if the players are found guilty of violation of rules etc. or for bringing the game into disrepute, is going to be a token punishment or one that proves to be a deterrent for such acts and words. There can be no consideration whatsoever about the need of a particular player to bat at a particular position etc. when the punishment is being decided.
“No comparison with a former player is of any value or worth when deciding upon the quantum of punishment as that would only be giving validity to act in a derogatory, crass and disgusting manner if a player meets a certain level of talent and performance. It must be noted that the comments such as the ones that have been made would definitely have painted a large, red target on the back of the players for potential recruiters for the organized syndicates who attempt to indulge in match – fixing across the globe. The very first caution that the ICC Anti-Corruption officers give in briefing to the players is to beware of situations of honey traps and the comments made on the show make it seem that the players may just be ripe for the plucking,” he explained.
Commenting on the reaction of former cricketers on the whole issue, he wrote: “It must also be noted that these comments must have pained a lot of cricketers who have played for the country in the past with distinction and one can only imagine the pain they must be feeling that such comments have been made by people who occupy their former positions.
“The administrative manager of the team must be directed to ensure that on the eve of the match and on match days, players are maintaining strict discipline regarding their timings and conducts as is expected of professional, contracted sportspersons. Lastly, agents of players need to be regulated. It is a requirement of the Lodha reforms and it is a need of the hour if the stories that one hears from Australia are anything to go by. As far as the quantum of the punishment is concerned if the players are found guilty as per the procedures laid down in the Rules and Regulations, keeping in view the above factors and discussions, a two-match suspension seems to be merely a stop-gap arrangement especially considering that the CoA had banned Smith and Warner for a season. The players must be immediately suspended pending a proper inquiry and must be allowed to join the team (if selected) only once they have gone through a proper sensitization in addition to serving a ban, if imposed upon them,” he signed off.
ACTING SECRETARY THANKS DIANA EDULJI
In another letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary thanked Edulji for taking up the matter and bringing it to his notice.
“I have just seen this trail of emails. Had it not been for you, the matter would never have reached the undersigned, which is yet another brazen violation of the BCCI constitution. Clearly, this was sought to be done consciously and deliberately, behind the backs of the office bearers for reasons best known to those doing it,” he wrote.
He went on to add: “It is most unfortunate that the elected office bearers were kept in the dark about the course of action. When a show cause indeed had to be issued, neither legally nor morally could it have been signed by a most tainted person himself. And I may add something as basic as this at least could have been understood by the person issuing instructions to the tainted issuing authority. Suspension is in any case not punishment and for the reported misconduct, this suspension (pending inquiry) should have happened yesterday itself, considering it was reported early (India Time). Therefore, the suspension must happen immediately.
“It is surprising that the matter is being sought to be disposed of hurriedly and surreptitiously as in the earlier case of sexual harrasment. Legally, the inquiry can be conducted only in accordance with the provisions of the registered constitution and not sought to be done by an ‘independent committee”. There is no way any society bound by rule of law will accept a verdict arrived at by a tainted person and the person who facilitated him to escape from the alleged grievous misconduct. In view of the ODI in two days, the team/team management should prepare itself accordingly.”