The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha committee shot an email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), seeking a letter of compliance from the cricket body regarding the apex court's October 21 order before the committee "proceeds to issue any directions." The screws have thus been further tightened on the BCCI.
The committee has also sought clarity from the Board about the specifics of the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights period.
Under the circumstances, the BCCI decided to indefinitely defer the awarding of the IPL media rights - broadcast and digital - which was scheduled for Tuesday. The tender process to award IPL media rights, which comprises broadcast, mobile and Internet rights, has seen 18 companies buying ITT documents.
Last week, the Supreme Court passed an order that curbed the financial freedom of the BCCI until the parent body and its state associations comply with the Justice Lodha committee's recommendations.
One of the directions issued by the apex court asked the Justice Lodha committee "to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise and audit the income received and expenditure incurred by BCCI." The committee has also been asked to set a "threshold value" for various contracts awarded by the BCCI and that all contracts in excess of that amount would need the committee's approval. The independent auditor will oversee the Board's tendering process.
Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary to the Justice Lodha committee, addressed the mail to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, with copies being sent to Board president Anurag Thakur and CEO Rahul Johri.
The mail reveals that Shirke had written to the Justice Lodha committee on October 21. Sankaranarayanan, on behalf of the Justice Lodha committee, has asked for the letter of compliance from Thakur before it issues any further directives.
"Before the Committee proceeds to issue any directions, it would need to satisfy itself that the BCCI administration is willing to comply with the Order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016.
"As you can understand, this would be necessary in view of the BCCI's stand concerning the earlier order of 18.7.2016. In this regard, the Committee requires a letter of compliance from the president BCCI duly undertaking on behalf of the BCCI to unreservedly comply with the Order of the Hon'ble Supreme Court dated 21.10.2016," the mail read.
Sankaranarayanan then asked for clarifications regarding the IPL media rights based on Shirke's letter.
"In your letter dated 21.10.2016, the first paragraph reads as follows: "1) The BCCI has already declared the process of a global tender for the IPL rights, where the previous Ten-year rights contract ended with the end of IPL season May 2016, as it was mandated to do so by the expiring contract."
"The Committee has 2 specific questions in this regard: a. When did the previous Ten-year rights period come to an end? b. When does the next Ten-year rights period commence?"
Later in the day, the Board issued a detailed media release, presenting their side of the story, about the repeated communications with the Justice Lodha committee and how its commercial interests were being hurt due to the delay in the process of awarding tenders.
The BCCI also apologised to the potential bidders from across the world.
"Keeping in view the urgency in the matter, the BCCI has informed the committee that the tender process being underway there were certain timelines that potential bidders were following. The BCCI also informed the committee that a large number of potential bidders had travelled to the country from outside as bids had to be submitted in person," the release stated.
"The BCCI, apart from the above communication, has so far at the time of going to Press, not received any further directions from the committee, which is now the custodian of the entire process and has been tasked with the duty to ensure that the tender process is undertaken in a professional and transparent manner with least inconvenience to all stakeholders.
"Once the BCCI receives a response from the committee it shall bring the same to the notice of all stakeholders as the BCCI is currently not in a position to take any decision in the matter other than what the committee recommends.
"In the absence of permission from the committee to go ahead with the process scheduled for tomorrow, the BCCI is unable to do so."