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SC-appointed administrators take over BCCI

The Supreme Court of India, on Monday, appointed former comptroller and auditor general (CAG) Vinod Rai as the head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Rai will head a four-member panel of administrators consisting of noted historian and writer Ramachandra Guha, former women’s cricket captain Diana Edulji and managing director and CEO of Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd (IDFC) Vikram Limaye.

SC rejected Central government’s request to appoint the sports ministry’s secretary as one of the members of the panel.

DNA has reliably learnt that all four names appointed by the SC came from the 17-member list submitted by amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium and senior counsel Anil Divan. This should be a big shock to former officials of BCCI and its state associations who were trying to get one of their representatives into the panel of administrators.

The Rai-led panel will run BCCI’s day-to-day administration till Justice RM Lodha reforms are implemented in toto and elections are held in all the states as well as in the BCCI.

The court made it clear that BCCI CEO Rahul Johri will be in the board to function under the panel and no other former office-bearers, eligible or not, would be allowed to sit in the BCCI headquarters.

The court has asked Justice Lodha Commission to outline the timelines for new administrative panel so that BCCI CEO could list which of the SC orders have already been implemented and what are hurdles in implementing the rest.

Earlier, Justice Lodha panel secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan submitted that “zero per cent” of the Lodha reforms have been complied with by the BCCI and its members so far. He also submitted that as per SC orders “no one from present set of office-bearers are eligible and thus have no right to function as caretaker”.

“The minute court appoints the administrators, they will become the BCCI,” Sankaranarayanan submitted.

Thus, Johri submits the report to the new panel within a week, and the administrators have been given four weeks to scrutinise the compliance achieved and report to the SC. The apex court said that the scrutiny would help in the “smooth implementation” of the July 18 orders.

The ICC catch

The only relief, whatsoever, that BCCI former officials got was when court allowed former joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary and former treasurer Anirudh Choudhary to go and attend ICC’s next meeting in the first week of February in Dubai, albeit with a condition.

SC also named Limaye as the third person in the team, who would negotiate the financial aspect concerning Indian cricket.

BCCI old masters might feel that they have managed to get two of their former colleagues through for the ICC crucial meeting on financial aspects but only one of the three nominated by the court will be allowed to sit inside the negotiation table.

And, going by ICC chairman Shashank Manohar’s running battle with his erstwhile colleagues, one should not be surprised if Limaye could well be allowed to deliberate on behalf of the BCCI. Though, this may not be of any greater importance as the final voting on this aspect will take place in June.

SC bench consisting of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud did not give any assurance to BCCI or state association counsel whether their pleas regarding problems in implementing the court order would be heard on the next date of hearing i.e. March 27.

“We will see how much BCCI or the states have complied with July 18 orders,” they observed.

The only cricketer

The 61-year-old Edulji, who hails from Mumbai, is the only cricketer in the panel. The former women’s team captain played 20 Tests and 34 ODIs for India before retiring in 1993.

A left-arm bowler, Edulji still holds the record of most wickets taken by an Indian woman bowler in Tests with 63 wickets. She took 46 wickets in her ODI career. She was part of the first-ever Indian women’s team that played against West Indies in Bangalore in 1976. Besides, Edulji has the honour of leading India’s first-ever ODI team in the Women’s World Cup in 1978.

She is the only one amongst the four who has experience in cricket administration because of her stint with the Western Railway as a senior sports officer.