For the first time in the BCCI’s 88-year existence, a non-elected, court-appointed panel of administrators will govern it, following a Supreme Court order on Monday. Former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai was appointed to head the four-member Committee of Administrators (COA), which has been assigned the task to oversee reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as suggested by the Lodha Committee and approved by the Supreme Court last year.
The COA, which also comprises noted historian, thinker and die-hard cricket fan Ramchandra Guha, Vikram Limaye, managing director-cum-CEO of Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), and renowned former India women's team captain Diana Eduljee, will immediately take over the reins, possibly on Tuesday, from the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri.
Johri has been looking after its day-to-day affairs after all the Board office-bearers were disqualified by the court as per the Lodha Committee recommendations for having completed nine years as administrators or, if not, they required to go into the mandatory three-year cooling-off period.
However, the three-member bench, headed by Justice Dipak Mishra, allowed two outgoing office-bearers – treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary – besides Vikram Limaye to attend a few crucial meetings of the International Cricket Council (ICC), to be held in the first week of February.
“Mr. Vinod Rai shall be the Chairman of the Committee of Administrators. The CEO of BCCI shall report to the Committee of Administrators and the Administrators shall supervise the management of BCCI,” said the court order.
However, the counsels of the BCCI, three government institutions – Railways, Services and the Association of Indian Universities – and the amicus curiae disagreed on the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations. While BCCI counsel Arvind Datar said that many measures suggested by the Lodha Committee have been taken, Gopal Sankarnarayan, secretary of the Lodha Committee, disagreed, saying that virtually no measures have been taken, neither at the BCCI nor at the state associations.
Therefore, the bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, directed the COA to ask the BCCI CEO to submit a compliance report with the court within a week. The bench further directed the committee to scrutinise the compliance report and submit a status report before the court in four weeks.
“With regard to the terms and conditions of the Committee of Administrators, the CEO of BCCI shall place the proposal before this court,” read the order.
In its January 2 order, the court had said that if the BCCI office-bearers who have not been disqualified can continue only if they submit an undertaking that they would ensure that the Lodha Committee recommendations were implemented at both the BCCI as well as its state associations.
“Mr. Datar, learned senior counsel, appearing for BCCI, submits that he has Letters of Undertaking from certain office bearers in pursuance of the order dated 2nd January, 2017. Liberty is granted to file them. Needless to say, the grant of the liberty to file does not mean that we have expressed any opinion on the undertaking or the validity thereof,” it said.
Regarding the BCCI representatives for the upcoming ICC meetings, the court also clarified the terms under which the three persons it named could attend.
“Be it noted, on the last occasion, it was submitted by Mr. Datar that BCCI has to send a nominee to attend the meeting of ICC which is likely to be held in the first week of February 2017. For the aforesaid purpose, names have been suggested by Mr. Datar. Considering the names suggested by Mr. Datar, we are of the opinion that three persons, one from the Committee of Administrators and two from the BCCI shall attend the ICC meeting so that there will be objectivity and transparency. For the aforesaid purpose, we nominate, Mr. Amitabh Choudhary, joint secretary, and Mr. Anirudh Chaudhry, treasurer BCCI, and Mr. Vikram Limaye, Managing Director and CEO, IDFC Ltd,” the bench said in its order.
“Needless to say, BCCI shall make all arrangements for and bear the expenses of the same. It is further clarified that these persons have been nominated to attend the ICC meeting only for this time,” it clarified.
The case emanated from the IPL betting-fixing scandal of 2013 and later its scope was expanded to include structural reforms of the BCCI.
The next hearing is on March 27.