CoA member Diana Edulji has demanded “suspension till further action” against Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul after the BCCI legal team refused to declare their outrage-evoking comments on women a violation of the code of conduct. She suggested taking the matter to the legal cell after CoA chief Vinod Rai agreed with her and recommended the same.
In her response to the legal opinion from the Board’s legal firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Edulji said, “It is imperative that players be put under suspension till further course of action is decided for this misconduct as was done in case of (BCCI) CEO (Rahul Johri) when he was sent on leave on sexual harassment matter. Based on legal opinion and final procedure is laid down to address this issue, will recommend that a communication is sent to concerned players and team immediately.”
Meanwhile, some of the reports of Cricket Next have also suggested that both the cricketers have been ruled out of the first ODI against Australia, captained by Aaron Finch that is set to be played tomorrow at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The legal firm has clarified that the cringe-worthy comments made by Pandya do not fall under the Code of Conduct ambit. The copy of the legal opinion states: “We feel that present matter doesn’t fall under the ambit of Code of Conduct and procedure of Code of Conduct can’t be invoked in present circumstances. In any case, the procedure set by the BCCI constitution will have primacy over procedure set out under Code of Conduct.”
A senior BCCI official also supported Edulji’s view and said that there should be suspension pending inquiry.
The official said, “It’s not just about Code of Conduct but about bringing the institution to disrepute. Just understand that ICC had given maximum sanction of one Test ban to Steve Smith for ball tampering charges as per its code of conduct. But Cricket Australia banned them for one year for the disrepute they brought to the game. When you look at their crass comments, look at the larger picture.”
If the players receive suspension till the inquiry gets completed, the legal team has recommended the appointment of an ad hoc Ombudsman, which could well mean more trouble for the duo. It has also been heard that BCCI has asked the team to submit their inquiry report within 15 days
With skipper Virat Kohli also distancing himself from the comments, it will now depend on the decision taken by the battling duo of Rai and Edulji based on this legal opinion.