Justice R.M. Lodha while proposing recommendations for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had put special emphasis on the conflict of interest clause. In fact, that the Ombudsman D.K. Jain has asked Sourav Ganguly to explain his position as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president and Delhi Capitals (DC) advisor is due to the Lodha panels proposals. But the former Chief Justice of India is saddened how his proposals have been taken for a ride.
This is after BCCI CEO Rahul Johri wrote to the ombudsman, asking him to allow the former India skipper to continue in his role if Ganguly makes ‘full disclosures’ of his interests. Johri on behalf of the board wrote to Jain that if full disclosures were made, Ganguly for his ‘vast knowledge’, should be allowed to continue. This is a clear case of interfering in the functioning of the ombudsman and Lodha isn’t too pleased.
Speaking to IANS, Lodha rued how Johri’s act is a clear example of people holding positions in the board trying to interfere in the transparent functioning of the BCCI.
“Very true (it is interference). Look those who are tasked to enforce the rules, if they themselves seek relaxations, God help them. What can I say? My whole idea is being spoilt. If they want to relax conflict of interest, this doesn’t happen actually and unfortunately it is a sad state of affairs,” he explained.
Echoing the sentiments, another BCCI official said while the panel had gone overboard in some cases and it looked as an attempt to keep individuals out rather than address situations. But all that doesn’t matter as the order of the Supreme Court is final.
“See, the whole Lodha Committee edifice was based on the perception of eradication of issues of conflict of interest. I think the Lodha Committee did go overboard in their articulation of what defines conflict of interest and the resolution of conflict. Certain illustrations seem as if an effort has been made to keep individuals out rather than to address situations of conflict. I also feel that they failed to take into account the ecosystem of a sport that was doing well.”
“However, what I or for the other matter anyone else feels is immaterial. There is an order of the Supreme Court which must be followed. If such a letter has indeed gone out (from Johri to Jain), it is ill-advised in terms of law but in terms of conflict (in violation of Lodha reforms) it may possibly be correct.”
“The issue, however, is that practically we all knew how difficult these rules were and we knew that the real resolution of the conflict is in full disclosure to all the stakeholders and decision makers. We had raised the issue repeatedly but it had been ignored and we were marked as the ones resisting even by the CoA.”
“We were told that we were doing it out of some self-interest but now if even the CEO has written a letter under the instructions of the CoA, it validates our long-standing view,” the official pointed.
Another board official said that the mail vitiates the process. He feels this also needs examination if other issues have also seen such interferences.
“Whether a letter could have been written to the Ethics Officer is another story altogether. Writing to him vitiates the process as it has the effect of influencing the decision of the ethics officer. I wonder if they have expressed their opinions on other issues till date as well. I wonder if this was done at the time of M.V. Sridhar as well when he resigned under pressure,” he said.