Arguing that the Lodha Committee has failed to guide the Indian cricket board administrators, president Anurag Thakur has told the Supreme Court that the recommendations made by the panel were not in the interest of cricket and would lead to “great chaos”. Thakur, in his affidavit to demonstrate compliance with the court orders, said that while he has made all efforts to abide by the directives, it was the Lodha Committee that has failed to comply with several directions and had also not guided them on various issues concerning BCCI’s day-to-day affairs.
“No guidance has been received from the Committee so far in terms of the orders passed by this Hon’ble Court. This has resulted in various affairs of the BCCI having come to a grinding halt causing defaults on the part of BCCI, and have tremendously hurt Indian cricket and the goodwill and image of the BCCI,” Thakur said. A bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur was supposed to examine Thakur’s affidavit on Monday but the matter will now be taken up on Friday. Thakur also opposed the Committee’s recommendation to appoint former home secretary G K Pillai as observer to oversee operations of the cricket body. “The Lodha Committee cannot shift the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the BCCI to another third party, who does not have any expertise of running cricket in India and has no established credentials…” said his affidavit.
Thakur added that the panel cannot be allowed to pass the baton to Pillai as a custodian of cricket in India and for being responsible for ensuring compliance with various court orders. “The recommendations made by the Committee do not appear to be in the interest of the cricket. These shall have the impact of severely weakening the cricket administration all over the country and shall make the BCCI a weak organisation, that is not able to represent itself in international forum,” he claimed.
Countering the panel’s recommendation to remove all incumbent officer-bearers of the BCCI, Thakur stressed that they all have been elected through a democratic process and in accordance with the statute governing their elections. “Removal of democratically elected office-bearers will not result in any benefit to the game of cricket and shall instead paralyse administration immediately, creating great chaos in the game…further removal of office-bearers without any default being attributable to them shall have a direct impact on representation of BCCI in various international organisation such as ICC…in their absence, the BCCI and state associations shall not be able to function and shall become headless organisations,” Thakur said.
Citing the third status report submitted by the Lodha Committee in the top court on November 21, Thakur said that this report corroborates that the panel does not want to interact with the BCCI or its office-bearers so as to understand the complexities of Indian cricket administration. “The said status report, in fact, acknowledges that the Committee does not have the expertise to administer Indian cricket,” he said.
About the state associations not adopting the amended memorandum of association to reform their affairs, Thakur maintained that he has urged them in three different meetings to adopt it unanimously but they have refused to do so at all times. “As President, I am thus rendered totally incapable and without any authority to force the members, who are 30 in number and have voting rights under the statute, to adopt the entire memorandum, as proposed for adoptio by the Committee,” he stated. Thakur added that the state associations have stuck to their guns despite the court order that the BCCI shall not disburse any money to them until they adopt the amended memorandum. Besides, Thakur said, state associations have not been heard by the court on this aspect of the report.
In its third status report, the Lodha panel has recommended to the court that all BCCI office bearers not meeting with the norms set in the recommendations be removed from their post. The committee further suggested that ex-home secretary Pillai be appointed as observer to oversee operations of the cricket body.
The Committee sought a declaration that all office bearers who are in violation of laid down norms with regard to the 70-year age cap, citizenship and tenures, “cease to hold office forthwith”. The report added Pillai, as observer, should conduct the crucial task of appointing auditors for awarding BCCI contracts including that of the upcoming IPL such as the media rights which has been halted amid the hiatus.