Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul apologise but inquiry hangs firehttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/hardik-pandya-kl-rahul-players-apologise-but-inquiry-hangs-fire-5538477/

Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul apologise but inquiry hangs fire

With Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji in disagreement over the inquiry, state associations urged BCCI to convene an SGM on a 10-day notice to appoint an ombudsman, who will conduct the inquiry.

CoA chief Vinod Rai wants CEO Rahul Johri to conduct the inquiry, while CoA member Diana Edulji wants an ombudsman to do so. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul have tendered “unconditional apology” to the fresh show-cause notices sent to them by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), a BCCI official said. However, the suspended players’ integration into the Indian team still appears some way off, with CoA member Diana Edulji in favour of an inquiry thorough an ombudsman, dittoed by the cricket board members.

With CoA head Vinod Rai and Committee member Edulji in disagreement over the inquiry process, 10 state associations on Monday urged that the acting BCCI president CK Khanna direct acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary to convene a general body meeting (emergent) on a 10-day notice to appoint an ombudsman, who will conduct the inquiry. Edulji, on the other hand, suggested that the ombudsman be appointed through court.

Rai had said that if the CoA, along with the acting secretary, conducts the inquiry process of the two players, he wouldn’t be part of it. “The (BCCI) constitution doesn’t allow it.”

Edulji responded by alleging that Rai himself had gone against the Supreme Court direction/BCCI constitution a couple of times, such as the appointment of the women’s team coach and the handling of sexual harassment charges against CEO Rahul Johri.

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Pandya and Rahul were suspended pending inquiry after their comments on the show – Koffee with Karan – that were considered misogynistic and racially insensitive. Rai in his mail described their “off the ground act” as “deplorable”, but spoke about taking “corrective action, sensitise them of their misdemeanour and then get them back on to the ground once they have suffered the consequences”. He also stressed upon not bringing their career “to a cul-de-sac by indefinitely delaying a decision”. The CoA head had proposed that the cricket board CEO commenced the inquiry as per the Article 41. (1) (c) of the new constitution. “BCCI is not in the business of ending young careers. Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to ‘cover up’,” the CoA head had added in his mail. Edulji didn’t agree to the CEO conducting the inquiry, as it would present “bad optics”.

Meanwhile, the Saurashtra Cricket Association, in a letter to the BCCI secretary, mentioned that the adjudication of the suspended players would require the appointment of an ombudsman, “who can only be appointed by the General Body of the BCCI”. The SCA also urged that the acting president directs the acting secretary “to convene the SGM at a shorter notice of 10 days on account of exigent circumstances”.

In June last year, the CoA had deemed a BCCI general body meeting invalid, because it didn’t have the Committee’s approval.

Article 10. (2) of the new BCCI constitution states: “For a Special General Meeting ten Full Members, present and entitled to vote shall be quorum.” At the same time, Article 40. (1) states: “The BCCI shall appoint an Ombudsman at the Annual General Meeting for the purpose of providing an independent dispute resolution mechanism.”

The cricket board’s AGM is yet to happen following the registration of its new constitution last year.