The flamboyant Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya is going to be in deep trouble due to his uncalled comments on the TV chat show Koffee with Karan as per the legal team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). With the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) co-member Diana Edulji and the other officials asking for a legal opinion on how to deal with the behaviour of Pandya and opener KL Rahul, the legal team has sent in the due process which gives the option of suspension of the players pending enquiry — that might take 6 months for completion.
In the letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, the legal team has also asked for an immediate appointment of an Ombudsman since the board doesn’t have one at present.
The letter read, “Considering that the BCCI at present does not have an Ombudsman, the COA, in our view, will be justified in and entitled to appoint an ad hoc ombudsman with a defined specific mandate of adjudicating on the present matter. The Ad hoc Ombudsman should possess the qualifications required for an Ombudsman under Rule 40(1) of the BCCI constitution. Thereafter, the Ad hoc Ombudsman should adjudicate on the matter in the manner as prescribed in the BCCI constitution.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times a senior BCCI official questioned why the office bearers had been kept away from the whole process as they have already been following the order of the SC.
The senior official said, “The suggestion to appoint an ad-hoc Ombudsman smacks of bias and pliability to cater to Vinod Rai. The CoA can ask the BCCI to appoint an Ombudsman at this stage by calling a General Meeting. Why are they keen to avoid that? Will it be like the ad-hoc committee he himself had constituted which originally had people he was personally acquainted with? Why do they want to avoid a democratic process? Surely they understand that the administration of BCCI cannot be at the whims and fancies of an individual, especially one over 70 years of age.”
With the process that is to be followed, the legal team has said: “In terms of Rule 41(6), considering that the inquiry process against the concerned players has commenced and is pending, it is open for the COA to suspend the concerned players (along with their privileges and benefits) pending inquiry and proceeding into the charges of misconduct until final adjudication. The suspension will, however, cease if the said adjudication is not completed within 6 months.”
Interestingly, the present issue doesn’t fall under the Code of Conduct of the BCCI as per the legal team.
The legal team wrote, “We have gone through the Code of Conduct which also lays down a procedure for dealing with acts of misconduct on the part of players. We feel that the present matter does not fall within the ambit of the Code of Conduct and the procedure laid down in the Code of Conduct should not be invoked in the present circumstances because – (i) the Code of Conduct primarily relates to on-field offences and only those off-field offences which pertain to criticisms of any incidents occurred in a match or against another player, team, support personnel, match official or the like; and (ii) in any case the procedure stipulated in the BCCI Constitution would have primacy over the procedure set out under the Code of Conduct.”
Pandya‘s loose talk could make him a target of the match-fixing syndicates known for laying “honey traps”, feels BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary.
In his email to COA member Diana Edulji regarding the matter, Chaudhary wrote, “…the comments such as the ones that have been made would definitely have painted a large, red target on the back of the players for potential recruiters for the organized syndicates who attempt to indulge in match-fixing across the globe. The very first caution that the ICC Anti-Corruption officers give in a briefing to the players is to beware of situations of honey traps and the comments made on the show make it seem that the players may just be ripe for the plucking.”
In what could be termed a rarity, the treasurer also questioned how BCCI has managed to separate the sports journalists while allowing players on entertainment shows.
The treasurer said, “…I question the situation where the sports journalists are kept at bay while access to the players is given to entertainment shows.”