BCCI officials can’t take independent decision: CoA

Committee of Administrators

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has reiterated to the BCCI office bearers that it remains in charge of the Indian board. On Sunday, the CoA put out a directive on the BCCI website, saying the office bearers cannot take any decisions independently without its permission. Also, any decision reached by any of the BCCI committees will not be binding unless the CoA had given its approval, ESPNcricinfo has reported.

This fresh communique, the CoA said, was necessitated by the court order on March 24, which clarified that an office bearer could hold nine-year terms at the BCCI and state association separately. That meant virtually all the existing BCCI office bearers could continue in their position. These included Amitabh Choudhry (joint-secretary), Anirudh Chaudhry (treasurer) and at least three of the five vice-presidents – CK Khanna (central zone), TC Mathew (west), Goutam Roy (east).

According to the CoA, three office bearers – Choudhry, Chaudhry and Khanna – had filed petitions asking the court to offer clarity on their powers. On January 2 the court had removed the pair of Anurag Thakur (BCCI president) and Ajay Shirke (secretary) for failing to comply with the Lodha Committee recommendations.

Till the BCCI elected a fresh administration based on the Lodha Committee recommendations, the court said the most senior BCCI vice-president would be in charge of the board while the joint-secretary would be the acting secretary. Consequently Khanna, who is the most senior vice-president in terms of his tenure, thought he was eligible to be the acting president while Choudhry would take over as acting secretary.

As far as the CoA is concerned, though, it is clear about the court giving it the authority to supervise and control the BCCI. “Each of the existing office bearers shall be bound to act in accordance with the instructions of the Committee of Administrators and/or shall discharge their duties only with the prior written approval of the Committee of Administrators,” the COA said in its directive. “Any actions already taken by any of the existing office bearers after the order dated 24th March 2017 shall immediately be intimated in writing by the concerned office bearer(s) to the Committee of Administrators for their permission and shall be continued/proceeded with only after written permission for the same is granted by the Committee of Administrators.

“The existing office bearers shall not make any statements, representations or commitments on behalf of the BCCI to any third party including to Government, Court, Tribunal, regulatory authority, media or any cricket body or organisation without the prior written approval of the Committee of Administrators.”

Over the weekend there have been unconfirmed reports about some of the BCCI members – state associations – thinking of calling a special general meeting on April 9. Despite repeated diktats from the court, the state associations have remained resolute about not adopting the Lodha Committee recommendations and have filed fresh counter petitions. The CoA has submitted two status reports in the court on the “intransigence” of the state associations.

To rein in the rebelling, the CoA issued a stern message. “In order for any action/decision (including without limitation any action/decision taken by any Committee or the General Body) to be valid and binding on the BCCI, the same must be taken with the prior approval of the Committee of Administrators.”

According to the CoA, going forward all payments would need the “joint approval” of the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and Choudhry. In case one of them did not approve or failed to sign off on any payment within three days of the other doing it, the CoA would make the final decision. Johri had been given the complete authority to sign all decisions concerning legal issues of the BCCI. It was also pointed out that both Johri and the Santosh Rangnekar, the BCCI’s chief financial officer, will report to the CoA and not the office bearers.