SC accepts apology and drops perjury charges against Anurag Thakur
The Supreme Court on Friday accepted a fresh apology tendered by Anurag Thakur, former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), facing perjury charges for interfering with the implementation of the Lodha committee recommendations.
Thakur was personally present in court for the hearing.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra dropped the charges after Thakur’s counsel P.S. Patwalia said there had been a miscommunication that had led to perjury charges against the former BCCI president.
The court also accepted the resignations of two members of the court-appointed committee—Vikram Limaye and historian Ramachandra Guha—overseeing implementation of the Lodha committee’s suggestions by the cricketing body.
Limaye sought to be relieved on account of his appointment as managing director of the National Stock Exchange. Guha cited personal reasons for his resignation.
Further, the court issued notices to former BCCI president N. Srinivasan and former secretary Niranjan Shah over attending the annual general meeting of the cricket body despite being disqualified.
The court had given Thakur the opportunity to tender an “unconditional, unequivocal and unqualified” apology and be personally present after it refused to accept his previous apology, made in March, on the grounds that it wasn’t “unconditional and unqualified”.
“I humbly submit that it was never my intention to undermine the majesty of this honourable court and since unintentionally some kind of misinformation or miscommunication has occurred, I unhesitatingly tender my unconditional and unequivocal apology to this honourable court,” Thakur stated in the apology tendered on 13 July.
The issue of perjury arose after the court found discrepancies in Thakur’s statements on seeking a letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) stating that the implementation of the Lodha panel’s recommendations and the apex court’s directions amounted to government interference in the board’s working and could mean the derecognition of the BCCI.
On 2 January, the court removed Thakur as president and Ajay Shirke as secretary of the BCCI, and set the stage for a revamp of the country’s top cricketing body after the two officials failed to comply with its order to implement the reforms recommended by a panel headed by former chief justice of India R.M. Lodha.
The Lodha committee was constituted by the apex court in January 2015 to clean up BCCI after the 2013 Indian Premier League betting and spot-fixing scandal.
A four-member committee headed by former comptroller and auditor general of India, Vinod Rai, was appointed to manage the board’s operations after Thakur and Shirke’s removal.
Others who were named to the panel were Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank; Diana Edulji, former Indian women’s cricket captain; and Guha.
The verdict sacking Thakur was passed after a long-drawn impasse over the implementation of the reforms recommended by the Lodha committee.
Among its recommendations were several sweeping changes in the BCCI including a “one state, one vote” formula that seeks to prevent states with multiple cricket associations from casting more than one vote, an age cap for office-bearers, and a ban on civil servants being part of the board.
While the BCCI agreed to implement some of the panel’s suggestions, it 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 BCCI’s board.
The case will be heard next on 24 July.