CoA divided, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri keeps his job

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, who faced allegations of sexual harassment and was on forced leave for the last three weeks, should be allowed to resume work, opines CoA chairman Vinod Rai.

A file photo of BCCI CEO, Rahul Johri.   -  AFP

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, who faced allegations of sexual harassment and was on forced leave for the last three weeks, should be allowed to resume work, Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) opined on Wednesday.

Rai based his opinion on findings of a three-member independent inquiry committee into the allegations against Johri. He alluded to the specific recommendation of Justice Rakesh Sharma (Retd.), the chairman of the probe committee, that "it would be premature, unjust and unfair to recommend any action against Johri on the basis of material placed before the Committee".

However, CoA member Diana Edulji's opinion differed from Rai's and she stuck to her stand that Johri should resign.

READ| Rahul Johri: ‘Last six weeks toughest of my life’

The three-member probe panel comprised Justice Sharma, former Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Barkha Singh and lawyer-activist Veena Gowda.

Incidentally, Gowda, who is also an external member of the BCCI’s internal committee for sexual harassment, recommended Johri undergo "some form of gender sensitivity counselling/ training”.

In her findings, Gowda stated, "The Conduct of Mr. Rahul Johri at Birmingham, as a CEO of an institution such as BCCI, is unprofessional and inappropriate which would adversely affect its reputation and the same has to be looked at by the concerned authorities."

Justice Sharma stated in his findings, "The complainants have failed to provide their cases as set up by them and we (me and Smt. Barkha Singh) are of the opinion that Mr. Rahul Johri has not abused his powers. The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or elsewhere are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr. Rahul Johri and throw him out of BCCI as indicated in some communications, and reactions expressed in the e-mails, statements in the press."

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He added, "No adverse action need to be taken against Mr. Rahul Johri, CEO, BCCI, on the basis of these mischievous, false, fabricated, unsubstantiated complaints, e-mails, tweets etc on social media.”

On Gowda's finding, Rai opined, "The finding of Ms. Veena Gowda in respect of Mr. Johri is that his behaviour in Birmingham was unprofessional and inappropriate. However, she has not found him guilty of sexual harassment."

Amid the divide in the two-member CoA, appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the functioning of the Indian cricket board, Rai reiterated that Johri should continue as the chief executive officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and resume his duties, as a natural consequence.

Reacting to the development Johri told PTI, “I am relieved and always had faith in god that I will come clear in this mess.” 

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