New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday appointed a four-member committee headed by former comptroller and auditor general of India Vinod Rai to manage the Indian cricket board, pressing ahead with its efforts to reform the country’s richest sporting body.
Others named to the panel to oversee the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) were Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank; former Indian women’s cricket captain Diana Edulji; and historian and writer Ramchandra Guha. The court selected the administrators from names suggested by the BCCI, the central government and lawyers Gopal Subramaniam and Anil Diwan, amicus curiae in the case.
“I see my role as that of a temporary night watchman, I have to ensure a smooth transition in the elected body that governs the great game of cricket,” Rai said of his appointment. “I have no idea or exposure with regards to BCCI and am a genuine cricket lover. I will be working in the best interest of the game to ensure that players and spectators get absolutely interference-free cricket.”
Given the diverse backgrounds of the four administrators, the court sought to steer cricket administration in the country onto a new, objective path. “The new panel of administrators will look at the BCCI from a neutral perspective. Now, people from the outside will get to know how well/effectively the body functions, what it has done for the game of cricket and cricketers, and its powers at the ICC (International Cricket Council) level,” a BCCI official said on condition of anonymity. Amitabh Chaudhary, a BCCI official and president of the Jharkhand state cricket association, and Vikram Limaye were directed to represent the Indian cricket board at the ICC meeting likely to be held in the first week of February.
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A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra also directed the committee of administrators to ask Rahul Johri, CEO of BCCI, to submit a point-wise report listing the reforms with which the board has complied. Early in the new year, the Supreme Court removed BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke from their posts for not implementing reforms suggested by a panel headed by former chief justice of India R.M. Lodha. The reforms included a ‘one state, one vote’ formula, which meant that states with more than one cricket association, as in the case of Gujarat (Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda) and Maharashtra (Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha) will have voting rights on a “rotational basis”—one at a time. Accepting the Lodha panel recommendations, the SC also barred serving civil servants and ministers from being on BCCI’s board or that of their respective state associations.
All office-bearers of the BCCI were required to meet the panel’s eligibility criteria and would cease to hold office if they are over 70 years old, have served more than nine years at the BCCI, or have been charged with a criminal offence or declared insolvent. The BCCI opposed and refused to implement the “one state, one vote” formula, the age cap for office-bearers, and the ban on civil servants being part of the board.
In a separate case, the Delhi high court cleared the decks for an organizational clean-up of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).
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A division bench headed by justice Ravindra Bhat asked former apex court judge Vikramajit Sen to take over as administrator of the DDCA. The court also asked the administrator to appoint an external auditor to review DDCA’s accounts for 2012-13, 2013-15 and 2014-15.
The court directed amendments in the articles of association of the DDCA to introduce clauses on capping age of members and their tenure. Sen will call a meeting to reconstitute the DDCA working and sports committees.
Shreeja Sen contributed to the story.