SC bowls out BCCI brass, Anurag takes dig at judges (Intro Roundup)

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) Cracking the whip on a defiant BCCI for refusing to implement the R.M. Lodha Committee reforms, the Supreme Court on Monday sacked its President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke.

Besides showing the door to Thakur and Shirke, the court issued notices asking them why perjury and contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them. Thakur, a BJP MP, immediately took a dig at the apex court judges.

Thakur and Shirke earned the court’s ire for not telling it that they had asked for a letter from the ICC that the appointment of a CAG nominee on the Board of Control for Cricket in India amounted to government interference in its affairs.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said in their order that as an interim arrangement, the senior most Vice President of the BCCI would act as the President and the Joint Secretary would be the Secretary.

Anurag Thakur maintained he had no grudges against the court but took a dig at the judges.

“BCCI is the best managed sports organisation in the country with defined procedures. India has the best cricket infrastructure built and maintained by the state associations with the help of the BCCI.

“Supreme Court judges feel that BCCI could do better under retired judges, I wish them all the best. I am sure Indian cricket will do well under their guidance,” he said in a video message posted on Twitter.

“I had the honour of serving Indian cricket. Over the years, Indian cricket saw its very best in terms of administration and development of the game… For me, it was not a personal battle. It was a battle for the autonomy of the sports body.”

The court asked amicus curiae Gopal Subramanian and eminent lawyer Fali Nariman to suggest the names for the committee of administrator (COA) that would supervise the BCCI administration through its Chief Executive Officer.

Asking both Nariman and Subramanian to suggest the names of persons with “integrity and experience in managing a similar enterprise”, the court gave them two weeks time to complete the exercise.

The court has also asked the senior lawyers appearing for different parties in the case to place their suggestions before the court so as to facilitate a considered decision.

The court set January 19 for the next hearing when it would pronounce the directions on the names of the COA.

“The role of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee shall hereafter be confined to overall policy and direction on such matters as may be referred by this court,” the order said.

The court set January 19 when names of the interim BCCI board would be announced. The judges said they would pass a separate order that day for appointing the administrator.

The bench also said that all the office bearers of the BCCI and its affiliate state units, who are in conflict with the recommendation of the Lodha committee, would demit office.

The apex court had on December 15 asked why Thakur should not be hauled up for perjury and contempt.

The court had earlier said that prima facie he had committed perjury by seeking a letter from the ICC that the presence of a CAG nominee on the BCCI board amounted to government interference and may have to go to jail.

Reacting to his removal, Shirke said: “I have nothing to say. My role in BCCI is over. If the SC has asked me to leave, that’s fine. I hope the new administration runs BCCI well. Hope the board doesn’t lose more face.”

Retired Justice Lodha, who headed the panel for bringing in reforms in the cricket board, said: “The reforms were laid down on July 18. BCCI was bound to follow it but they didn’t. Hence consequences had to follow.

“It’s a victory for cricket. Administrators will come and go and I am sure the game will flourish.”

Former India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi, who has been a constant voice against the BCCI set-up, said: “I hope Indian cricket will return on the right track.”

Added former BCCI Treasurer Kishore Rungta: “These are the consequences of not accepting the Lodha committee recommendations.”

Justice Mukul Mudgal, who had simultaneously probed the affairs of the DDCA, also welcomed the hearing: “Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke have borne the consequences of the BCCI not obeying the SC orders.”

–IANS

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