The Indian cricket Board is braced for severe action by the Supreme Court, which is due to pronounce its order on Monday over the Justice RM Lodha Committee’s directives for reforms. The court could even ask top BCCI officials to step down and appoint an independent observer to oversee transition.
The BCCI has decided it will not suggest a name for observer. The apex court bench headed by CJI, TS Thakur, is likely to appoint former union home secretary, GK Pillai. The Committee had suggested removal of the BCCI office-bearers and the appointment of Pillai in its status report.
In the last hearing, amicus curiae and senior lawyer Gopal Subramaniam recommended the names of Pillai with ex- Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai and former Test cricketer Mohinder Amarnath to run the BCCI.
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However, the BCCI, which has opposed the Lodha panel’s key recommendations, is defiant. “We’re ready to face any consequences, but we are not going to suggest any name,” a senior Board official told HT.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing the BCCI, had objected to Pillai’s name but refused to give a reason when Justice Thakur’s enquired. Sibal had requested for a week’s time to check whether the BCCI wished to propose a name.
The Bench of Justice Thakur, who is retiring on Tuesday, may also initiate perjury proceedings against BCCI president Anurag Thakur. During the last hearing, Justice Thakur had said the court could proceed against Thakur without issuing a notice.
Thakur is facing perjury charges as the apex court believes he twice requested International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman, Shashank Manohar, for a letter, which the latter refused to give.
In its July 18 verdict, the Bench gave its nod to appointing a representative of the CAG in the apex council recommended by the Lodha panel. Thakur is under fire for asking for a letter from the ICC, which the court feels, intended to portray that this order could be seen by the ICC as government interference.
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Thakur has maintained that he never lied under oath and his affidavit to the court was truthful.
“You went to the ICC and said ‘give me a letter saying that there will be government interference if there is any government nominee in the BCCI administration’,” However, Justice Thakur had remarked:
“You asked a letter from the ICC chairman after this court had already pronounced its verdict. We know your intentions.”
Justice Thakur had asked Subramaniam on two occasions whether Thakur had committed perjury or if there was a case of prosecution. On both occasions, his answer was ‘yes’.
“When we pronounce the order, your client has nowhere to go except jail,” Justice Thakur had communicated to Sibal. “We see it (Thakur’s letter to ICC) as an obstruction. On this issue, we will pass an order.”