No progress in Lodha-BCCI email exchange

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke and president Anurag Thakur are supposed to meet the Lodha Committee by November 3 © AFP

The impasse between the Lodha Committee and the BCCI appears set to continue, with the committee saying the board has shown no sign of complying with its directive to provide an undertaking to follow the order the Supreme Court passed on October 21.

Based on an email received on October 24 from BCCI president Anurag Thakur, the Lodha Committee told the board in its reply on Tuesday that it anticipated “impediments” to the implementation of the order.

On October 21, the Supreme Court directed the BCCI not to distribute funds to state associations until they agreed to comply with the Lodha Committee’s recommendations, which the court had approved in an order on July 18. The court also asked BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke and Thakur to meet the Lodha Committee by November 3 and placed several restrictions on the board’s ability to enter into contracts, which forced the IPL broadcast and digital rights tender process to be put off indefinitely.

The BCCI has since written repeatedly to the Lodha Committee asking for clarifications on how to proceed with its financial transactions, but has not provided the letter stating it will comply with the Supreme Court’s October 21 order as requested by the committee. Shrike and Thakur have not yet met the committee either. As a result, the committee has not given the BCCI directions on the way forward for the IPL tender and other contracts, leading to the impasse.

“In the absence of the unambiguous and unequivocal letter of compliance from the President duly undertaking on behalf of BCCI to unreservedly comply with the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016, the Committee anticipates (having regard to the consistent stance adopted by the BCCI that it has issues with regard to reforms concerning governance) that there would be impediments in carrying out the order dated 21.10.2016,” the committee told Thakur in an email on Tuesday.

The committee told Thakur that his email on October 24 had made no mention of compliance with the October 21 order, but instead referred to various other points that had “no relevance to the question at hand”.

Thakur’s email, the Lodha Committee said, had once again stated that certain state associations had issues with some of the recommendations and the BCCI could not pass them without a two-thirds majority. The committee also objected to a qualifying phrase in the BCCI’s correspondence.

“You have stated that you would take ‘all steps in accordance with law’ to implement the directions at Paragraph 20 of the Supreme Court’s order,” the Lodha committee said in its email. “This language is identical to the one you have employed in the past with this Committee and with the Supreme Court to cherry pick those aspects that you would seek to refer to a vote by the Member Associations.

“As far as this Committee is concerned, it is implicit that the orders of the Supreme Court are in accordance with law. It cannot possibly be implied by you or anybody else that the Supreme Court is passing illegal directions. There is thus absolutely no question of qualifying your undertaking by stating that your compliance with the Order would be in accordance with law.”

The Lodha Committee – comprising former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and retired Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran – was formed in January 2015 to determine appropriate punishments for some of the officials involved in the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, and also to propose changes to streamline the BCCI, reform its functioning, prevent sporting fraud and conflict of interest.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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