‘Unsubstantiated complaints’ save BCCI CEO Rahul Johri

Three-member probe panel call for grievance redressal cell for women employees in the BCCI, suggests counselling for Rahul Johri.

Rahul Johri at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Wednesday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

The CoA-appointed panel, set up to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, had varied opinions on the cricket henchman’s conduct but couldn’t recommend action on the basis of the material provided to them.

The panel said Johri can resume office.

Justice (retired) Rakesh Sharma, who headed the investigation committee, in his findings, said, “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.

READ| Sexual harassment allegations against Johri dismissed

“There has to be a balancing of the rights just as the complainant women have a right, the respondent-CEO also has a right and in these circumstances and facts of the case, we are not ready to hold him guilty of the charges. He appears to be innocent. In our opinion (me and Mrs. Barkha Singh), it would be pre-mature, unjust and unfair to recommend any action against Mr. Rahul Johri on the basis of material placed before us. He may be allowed to function as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BCCI as before. 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.”

Call for grievance redressal cell

Barkha, a former chairperson of the Delhi Commission For Women, felt such complaints could have an adverse effect on the fight for equality for women.

READ| ‘Unsubstantiated complaints’ save BCCI CEO Rahul Johri

“In my opinion, such kind of motivated and fabricated allegations will diminish the status of women and the job opportunity for them..

"Setting such precedents will only make it more difficult for achieving equality and equal opportunity for women. Therefore, I am in full agreement with the views and opinion of my senior esteemed colleague Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rakesh Sharma. I am of the opinion that a “Grievance redressal committee/ cell” may be constituted in BCCI in the interest of women employees.”

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Lawyer and activist Veena Gowda suggested counselling for Johri.

“The Conduct of Mr. Rahul Johri at Birmingham (during Champions Trophy 2017), 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. In view of his conduct in Birmingham as well as keeping in mind the allegations made by Ms. X and his conduct before this Committee with respect to the photographs submitted, it is essential that Mr. Johri undergo some form of gender sensitivity counselling/ training.”

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