After the Justice Lodha Committee directed banks to freeze accounts of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the latter is reportedly mulling cancellation of the ongoing New Zealand series, which has one Test and five ODIs remaining.
A senior board official confirmed to the Indian Express. "We have no option other than to call off the India-New Zealand series, as our banks have decided to freeze BCCI accounts. We don't want India to be humiliated in front of the world. How can we function, how can we hold any games now? Who will make the payment? Freezing a bank account is no joke. An international team is here, and there is so much at stake," the official said.
The Lodha Panel's directive had come on Monday following the board's special general meeting that was held on 30 September. "It has come to the notice of this Committee that certain decisions have been taken at the BCCI's 30 September meeting, to disburse large funds to the various member associations," the committee has stated in a letter to two banks: Yes Bank and Bank of Maharashtra.
"You are aware that by way of this committee's direction dated 31 August, 2016, no further decisions were to be taken regarding the future apart from routine matters. The disbursement of these amounts are not routine, and in any case, not emergent," the committee said. "You are also aware that the BCCI has chosen to breach the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as the first set of timelines set out by this Committee which includes the Fund Disbursement policy to be framed by 30 August, 2016."
"As the status report is to be taken up for directions by the court on Thursday, you are hereby directed not to take any steps towards financial disbursement of the amounts as resolved/approved after the direction dated 31.8.2016. Any violation of this direction will be placed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court for appropriate directions," it added.
The panel also cited the 18 July Supreme Court verdict, which had told the BCCI to "cooperate and act in aid of the Committee and its directives".
A Times of India report said that the board will take a final decision on the matter after the next hearing is held in the Supreme Court on Thursday. "Wait till 6 October (when the next hearing will be held in the SC). Everything will be sorted out then. The Lodha Committee didn't even speak to anyone in the BCCI to find out details of the working committee," the board official said, pleading for more time in order to conclude the New Zealand series peacefully. "Let's not make a fool of ourselves throughout the world for not being able to pay. Let the New Zealand team leave honourably," the official added.
With inputs from PTI