The BCCI’S guest list for the ongoing Champions Trophy in England includes a surprise name: Robert Vadra, businessman and son-in-law of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. It is learnt that Vadra attended India’s league game against South Africa as a BCCI guest at The Oval on June 11, when Virat Kohli’s team won by eight wickets. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri was not available for comment on the board’s guest list while a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrator (CoA) said they were “not involved in the distribution of complimentary tickets”.
Sources said that for every India game at the Champions Trophy, the BCCI books a 24-seat corporate box for its officials, stakeholders and “special guests”. The board also has at its disposal 20 additional tickets provided by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Among the BCCI officials in England for the premier one-day tournament are CEO Johri, acting president C K Khanna, secretary Amitabh Choudhary, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and three board employees. A BCCI official said the board decided to book a corporate box at all ICC events for the first time under the previous administration. “Former president N Srinivasan came up with the idea of the BCCI having its own box at the World Cup and Champions Trophy. The aim was to provide the best seats for BCCI members and those helping the Indian board,” said the official.
Sources said these corporate box beats were in huge demand for Sunday’s India-Pakistan final. “NRI businessmen, politicians and celebrities have been calling us for passes,” said a BCCI official. Incidentally, earlier this year, the CoA had frozen a payment of Rs 76 lakh that the BCCI had made for the purchase of tickets for the 2016 World T20. The BCCI was entitled to 100 tickets per game but ended up purchasing more to accommodate its guests.