BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has raised objections to the appointment of the Board’s new General Manager (Marketing) Priya Gupta, citing a 2014 article written by her on Bollywood star Deepika Padukone while working with The Times of India. Choudhary, in an email to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, and copied to the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and other BCCI officials have also mentioned another article that described Gupta’s take on the actress as “Slut-shaming Deepika Padukone.”
Questioning the BCCI’s selection process that also involved recruitment firm Korn Ferry, Choudhary wrote: “A simple search on the internet, revealed the following stories mentioning the candidate selected for the post we are presently concerned with, regarding an article that the person authored, the content of which is for everyone to see.”
The two articles refer to the controversy that had started after The Times of India had tweeted a Deepika Padukone video with the caption: “OMG! Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show”. To this, Deepika had responded with: “YES! I am a Woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??”.
Gupta had defended The Times of India in an article with a headline “Dear Deepika, our point of view…” where she wrote: “Deepika, just for the record, we do not zoom into a woman’s vagina or show her nipples… What about all the times, and there have been many, when you have flaunted your body off screen — while dancing on stage, posing for magazine covers, or doing photo ops at movie promotional functions? What ‘role’ do you play there? So why the hypocrisy?”
Asked about Choudhary’s objections, Gupta told The Indian Express: “I really have no clue about it and I don’t want to comment anything on it.”
Korn Ferry’s candidate report on Priya Gupta, accessed by The Indian Express, gives the executive evolution, contact information, education, compensation package, personal and career details of the candidate. The “summary” segment said: “She has played a successful part in making Bollywood engaging. She is confident of doing that with BCCI and with cricket if she is allowed to give it a shot.”
Gupta has been offered Rs 1.65 crore per year for the BCCI job, which she accepted. An email from Johri to the CoA on February 28 requested the “approval” to “process the offer letter/contract”.
On engaging Korn Ferry, Choudhary wrote: “The decision to do so was taken in a meeting in which I also participated… yet for reasons unknown, the decision… awaited my exit from the meeting despite the fact that (the) Acting Honorary Secretary… would sign on appointment letters.”