SC Tightens Noose Around BCCI, Chokes Funds to State Units 

A BCCI meeting in progress chaired by Board president Anurag Thakur (file photo) - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said the Justice Lodha Committee will appoint an independent auditor to study the BCCI's finances, including contracts involving media rights and other tenders above a certain threshold value.

The auditor would scrutinise and audit the income and expenditure of the the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), oversee the tendering process above a threshold value to be fixed by the committee and the award of the contract subject to the approval of Lodha panel. The Lodha panel would be at liberty to obtain the advice of the auditors on the fairness of the tendering process.

The committee would be at liberty to formulate the terms of engagement of the auditors having regard to the above directions and the BCCI “shall defray the costs, charges and expenses of the auditors”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T.S Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the BCCI will not disburse any funds to its state affiliates until they undertake to abide with the directions of the court and the recommendations of the Lodha Committee. The Court also granted the BCCI time till December 3 to comply with its orders and asked it to file compliance report by December 5.

"BCCI shall forthwith cease and desist from making any disbursement of funds for any purpose whatsoever to any state association until and unless the state association concerned adopts a resolution undertaking to implement the recommendations of the Committee as accepted by this Court in its judgment dated 18 July 2016," said Justice Chandrachud pronouncing the judgment.

It said after the resolution is passed, the same would be filed before the Lodha Committee and the apex court along with an affidavit by the president of the state association undertaking to abide by the recommended reforms. It is only then that the disbursement of the funds would commence, the judgment said.

BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke should within two weeks file a statement on affidavit indicating the recommendations that have been complied with and the manner of compliance and the steps being adopted for securing compliance with the remaining recommendations.

Anurag Thakur and Shirke would appear before the committee and also keep the committee apprised about the steps taken pursuant to the statement that the BCCI will make a genuine endeavour to persuade the state associations to effectuate compliance.

Noting that though the BCCI was in "default and breach of the directions of this Court", the court gave it "additional opportunity" to "establish its bona fides and to secure compliance" of the organisational reforms.

Having given time to the BCCI and noting its submission that it would make genuine efforts to implement the recommended reforms, the court said, "We are desisting from issuing a direction at this stage (on) the request made by the Committee for appointment of administrators."

A line up of U-14 players at a training camp.

To clear the air whether the BCCI president had just sought a clarification or sought a letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the presence of CAG nominee in it would amount to governmental interference, the Court asked the Lodha panel to send the copy of its order to the ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar.

Describing the controversy as a "matter of serious concern" the judgment said, "There was no occasion for the president of the BCCI to do so once the recommendation of the Committee for the induction of a CAG nominee was accepted in the final judgment of this Court."

Saying that the "finding in the final judgment and the order of this court" binds BCCI, the judgment said, "Prima facie, an effort has been made by the president of BCCI to create a record in order to question the legitimacy of the recommendation of the committee for the appointment of a CAG nominee after the recommendation was accepted by this Court on 18 July 2016. We presently defer further consideration of the action to be taken with reference to his conduct."

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