BCCI president Anurag Thakur and general manager (administration) Ratnakar Shetty were both asked to explain the allegation that the board had asked International Cricket Council (ICC) to issue a letter claiming Justice Lodha Committee's recommendations amounted to government interference.
On Monday, Thakur admitted that he had sought a letter from the ICC but denied the charge that it was to scuttle Lodha panel's recommendations. Whereas Shetty, in his affidavit, said he had not asked for any such correspondence.
The bench has reserved its order on the directions to be passed on the BCCI regarding the implementation of the recommendations by the Lodha panel. The board has sought more time from the court saying it needs to convince the state associations about the guidelines.
About the conflicting stand by BCCI officials, a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur said, “Thakur admits that he had asked ICC chairperson (Shashank Manohar) for a letter while Ratnakar Shetty's affidavit says he had not asked. Shetty's affidavit filed earlier is at odds with that of Anurag Thakur.” After going through the three-page affidavit filed by Thakur in response to the court's directive on October 7, the bench said it wondered “whether an attempt was made to procure the letter from ICC. The affidavit is very clear that you had attended a meeting of ICC and requested for a letter which was before the court pronounced its judgement in August.” “You could have procured the ICC letter for argument in the case but not for compliance of the Lodha committee recommendations,” said the bench referring to the affidavit filed by Thakur in which he claimed he had requested ICC chairman Shashank Manohar but not its CEO David Richardson.
Thakur said he had taken part in the ICC meeting on August 6 and 7, where he had pointed out to Manohar that he, as the then BCCI president, held a view that Justice Lodha panel recommendation on appointment of a CAG nominee in the apex council, would amount to governmental interference and may invoke action of suspension of the board from the ICC.
“I, therefore, requested him that he being the ICC chairman, can a letter be issued clarifying the position which he had taken as BCCI president,” the affidavit said.
“Manohar explained to me at the meeting that when the stand was taken by him (as the then BCCI chief), the matter was pending before this court and had not been decided,” Thakur said.
The affidavit also said the apex court had later rejected BCCI's contention that the appointment of CAG nominee in the council would amount to governmental interference.
Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam, who is assisting the court on this issue, sought the apex court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against BCCI for being defiant and failing to implement its panel's recommendations.
“Thakur's letter to Manohar amounts to interference. How can he be entrusted with responsibility to implement Lodha panel's recommendations,” Subramaniam said referring to Thakur's affidavit and suggested that the top brass of the board be replaced with a panel of administrators.
He claimed that the court has given optimum time to BCCI for compliance but they failed to comply with a single recommendation. “This kind of disobedience (by BCCI) is contemptuous.” BCCI's counsel senior advocate Kapil Sibal produced two original registers of BCCI containing the minutes of AGM and also the working committee meetings.
After examining the documents, the bench said, “It appears that at every stage there was defiance and obstruction.” Sibal sought three months' time to implement recommendations saying BCCI has implemented several guidelines.
“If we are given time, we will try and convince state cricket associations to accept the recommendations, but we need approval from three-fourth members.” After hearing the arguments for two hours, the court indicated that it would appoint administrators to take over the functioning of Indian cricket.