The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has urged that the independent committee that is inquiring into the allegations of sexual harassment against the CEO Rahul Johri, must also meet the BCCI office-bearers before submitting its report. Chaudhry, who is “open to appearing before the committee”, added that a BCCI employee, who resigned and then joined back, must also be called to depose before the committee.
“It has been reported that the committee interacted with the CoA. If that is true, it flows logically that the committee would definitely meet with the office-bearers since at the time of one alleged incident, the erstwhile BCCI constitution was in force,” Chaudhry told The Indian Express.
The CoA has formed a three-member independent committee comprising Justice (Retd.) Rakesh Sharma, former chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Barkha Singh, and advocate Veena Gowda to adjudicate on the charge related prior to Johri’s “employment with BCCI or otherwise, in accordance with law”.
The BCCI treasurer called for clarity and transparency, as he said the office-bearers would be “supportive” of the attempt to achieve that.
Apart from facing sexual harassment allegation, during Johri’s previous employment with Discovery, by an anonymous Twitter post last month, there reportedly had been another allegation of harassment against the cricket board’s CEO by one of the BCCI’s own employees. Then, fresh allegations surfaced via the Twitter feed of former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi, who tweeted: “If the @BCCI want information about @Rjohri on #metoo I am happy to assist them. I am putting my hand up as a former captain!”
The treasurer is of the view that the BCCI employee should be called to depose before the independent committee. “It is also very important for closure that the employee of the BCCI who had resigned and then joined back and about whom a lot of media organisations have reported, must be called to depose before the committee.
“I for one would be open to appearing before this committee or any other committee established under law and rules and regulations, as would the other people connected with the BCCI.”
Meanwhile, in an email to the independent committee chairman Justice (Retd.) Rakesh Sharma, the petitioner in the IPL spot-fixing case, Aditya Verma, questioned the confidentiality of the whole process. “The Media Release issued by the committee says that the information given to the committee will be kept confidential. As per the present arrangement will information not be known to Rahul Johri also? If the information was to be kept confidential then why has information been made known to Shishir Hattangadi about me and about him to me by way of your email?” Verma wrote.
Verma’s response came after Justice Sharma sent an email, on behalf of the independent committee, to Sanjeev Kumar Mishra, someone associated with Bihar cricket who wanted to appear before the inquiry committee, asking him to “demonstrate” his “bonafides”… Interestingly, the mail didn’t have a copy marked to committee member Veena Gowda, although it was CC-ed to Barkha Singh.