BCCI refuses to accept G.K. Pillai as administrator, court asks it to suggest 3 names.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday threatened to initiate contempt and perjury proceedings against BCCI president Anurag Thakur for asking the ICC CEO for a letter but denying it on oath, warning that he may have to go to jail if found guilty.
The court reminded the BCCI’s top brass that Mr Thakur, as board president, had sought a letter from ICC CEO Dave Richardson that the appointment of a CAG nominee in the cricket body would compromise its autonomy and amount to government interference.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, pulled up the BCCI for trying to mislead the court and warned Mr Thakur that he may be sent to jail if the court pronounces its order in perjury proceedings.
The BCCI’s general manager (game development), Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, was also pulled up.
Mr Thakur had in his affidavit in the court denied asking International Cricket Council chief Shashank Manohar for a letter to the effect that some of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, particularly on having a representative of the CAG’s office on the BCCI’s executive, was tantamount to “government interference in its operations”.
The court’s reply was sharp. “Prima facie it seems that Anurag Thakur has perjured and lied under oath because of the letter to Manohar. It is a case of prosecution,” Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said at the hearing. “You had no occasion to approach Manohar. Where was the occasion to raise the issue once we had pronounced on this? This amounts to perjury.”
According to Mr Thakur, he had asked ICC chairman Shashank Manohar for his opinion on the Lodha recommendations when he was BCCI president. “I pointed out to the chairman of the ICC, Mr Shashank Manohar, that when he was BCCI president he had taken a view that the recommendation of the Justice Lodha Committee appointing a nominee of the CAG on the apex council would amount to governmental interference, and might invoke... suspension from the ICC,” Mr Thakur had said.
The bench said: “Why are you trying to mislead the court? If you want to escape perjury charges, you ought to apologise. At every stage you have been trying to obstruct. Everyone wants to go around and continue to hold the post even after 70 years. This is such a lucrative business that everyone wants to go on forever.”
The final order on Mr Thakur’s misdemeanour, that could send him to jail, could come on January 3 when the court returns after the winter break.
The three-member bench also asked the BCCI to suggest three names for the post of administrator after the board rejected former Union home secretary G.K. Pillai, whose name had been suggested by the Lodha Committee, and reserved orders on replacing ineligible members of the BCCI administration with a panel of administrators. On its own, the court put forward the name of former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath as one of the three.
The Lodha recommendations, not yet fully accepted by the BCCI, include one-state one-vote, an age limit of 70 years and a cooling-off period of three years between board posts and appointments.