After going on a forced leave of three weeks, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri has been cleared of sexual harassment allegations by the Committee of Administrators.
The CoA’s three-member probe panel, comprising former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh and Lawyer-activist Veena Gowda, dismissed the allegations as ‘mischievous and fabricated’. Johri is now free to resume office but with a probability of ‘gender sensitivity counselling’ as suggested by Gowda, owing to his “inappropriate behaviour” with one of the complainants during the Champions Trophy in Birmingham. She, however, maintained there was no case of sexual harassment against Johri.
The decision to clear Johri was not unanimous as Chairman Vinod Rai voted for Johri joining back while Diana Edulji recommended his resignation as well as counselling. While Edulji insisted on the report not being published on Wednesday, asking for a few days to study it, Vinod Rai took the call of opening the report in front of the panel members as well as BCCI’s legal team.
Head of the probe committee Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma said, “The complainants have failed to provide their cases as set up by them…The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or elsewhere are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr. Rahul Johri and throw him out of BCCI.”
“No adverse action need to be taken against Mr. Rahul Johri, CEO, BCCI, on the basis of these mischievous, false, fabricated, unsubstantiated complaints, e-mails, tweets etc on social media,” he added.
The women who accused Johri of sexual harassment were deposed via Skype in a meeting, which was attended by BCCI’s former Anti-Corruption Unit chief Neeraj Kumar, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, IPL petitioner Aditya Verma, and former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi. A fourth complainant, who accused Johri of inappropriate behaviour, did not turn up for deposition. Johri’s deposition, which took place towards the end of the probe, was spread over two days.
The CoA report, which was completed in 15 days, would now be submitted to the Supreme Court.