The fate of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul hangs in thin air as the two members of the Committee of Administrators are again at loggerheads over the approach to conclude the issue. Both Hardik and Rahul on Monday tendered "unconditional" apologies for their sexist comments during a TV chat show.
However, as per a report in Cricketnext, one half of CoA, Vinod Rai, is in favour of appointing an ad-hoc Ombudsman, as suggested by BCCI legal advisors, to overlook Pandya-Rahul sexism episode. Rai has instructed BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to carry out a preliminary inquiry but Diana Edulji wants otherwise. Edulji, who forms the the other half of the CoA, wants a permanent appointee to probe the case.
On 17 January, SC will take up Cricket Association of Bihar’s petition about the working of the CoA and BCCI, and Edulji, in a mail to Rai, demanded the apex court be informed about the situation. "The Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for 17 January, let the court be informed about this situation and let an Ombudsman be appointed by the court instead of taking a wrong step of appointing the ad hoc ombudsman, which is not as per the new constitution," she wrote.
Edulji fears a "cover-up" in the controversy, triggered by Pandya and Rahul's much-condemned statements on 'Koffee with Karan'.
BCCI’s legal advisors, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, had written to Edulji about setting an ad-hoc Ombudsman in a mail sent on 10 January.
Rai wrote back to Edulji that BCCI should not be in the business of ruining young careers and that "your committee" will run the risk of being "judge, jury, and executioner".
"Please note that since you do not want to follow the suggestion of legal to have an ‘ad hoc ombudsman’. Your suggestion runs the risk of your committee being ‘judge, jury and executioner’. Please go ahead and take it forward. I will keep away and leave it to you.
The CEO must fulfill his duty as per Rule 41(C) and conduct the inquiry after receiving the explanation of the players. He must ensure that the norms of natural justice are fulfilled," Rai wrote to Edulji.
"BCCI is not in the business of ending young careers. Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to 'cover up'. The interest of cricket in India has to be kept in mind," wrote Rai as reported by PTI.
He also wrote that ad-hoc Ombudsman will not cover-up the case. He wrote, "Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to 'cover up'. The interest of cricket in India has to be kept in mind. The off the ground act of the players was deplorable. It was crass as I said immediately after reading the comments."
The 10th CoA report clearly indicates that as per the newly registered constitution, BCCI requires the appointment of an Ombudsman for the purpose to providing an independent dispute resolution mechanism.
“The newly registered constitution of BCCI requires the appointment of an Ombudsman at the Annual General Meeting for the purpose of providing an independent dispute resolution mechanism. It is necessary that the first Ombudsman be appointed at the earliest so that the provisions relating to independent dispute resolution mechanism under the newly registered constitution can be implemented immediately,” read the report.
It is to be noted that no Special General Meeting has been held to appoint an Ombudsman.
In another development, acting president CK Khanna received requisitions from 10 state units demanding a Special General Meeting at the earliest.
As per the new constitution, the secretary — in this case, the acting secretary — can call an SGM on 21 days' notice but if it has to be an Emergent SGM within 10 days, the board president (acting president) in this case has to convene the meeting.
"It will be interesting what call Khanna will take. If I remember, he once didn't sign the minutes of SGM fearing that it would be in violation of Supreme Court orders. On another occasion, he didn't even attend an SGM," a state unit member, who was present during both the meetings, said.
"There is a possibility that Khanna may instruct Amitabh Chaudhary to call a normal SGM with 21 days' notice which a secretary is allowed to," he added.
With inputs from PTI