Drama ahead of selection committee meeting

A communication from former Board joint-secretary Amitabh Chaudhary created confusion even as the five National selectors arrived for the meeting.

The Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rahul Johri.   -  Vivek Bendre

There was drama ahead of the selection committee meeting in Mumbai to pick the Indian team for the limited overs series against England later this month.

A communication from former Board joint-secretary Amitabh Chaudhary created confusion even as the five National selectors arrived for the meeting.

The Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rahul Johri was asked to delay the meeting to enable Choudhary to attend the same. Johri shot off a mail to the Lodha Committee secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan seeking clarity on the matter.

“I have received an email from Mr. Amitabh Choudhary, the Joint Secretary of the BCCI, requesting that the said meeting be postponed till evening so that he can convene and attend the same. We have received differing legal advice insofar as whether a person who has completed nine years as an office-bearer of a State Association would be disqualified from being an office-bearer of the BCCI in terms of the order dated 2nd January 2017 read with the order dated 3rd January 2017 and have been advised to seek a clarification from the Hon'ble Supreme Court,” wrote Johri.

The Board CEO continued, “Although Mr. Amitabh Choudhary has completed nine years as an office-bearer of a State Association, he has not completed nine years as an office-bearer of BCCI. In view of the above, please advise as to whether Mr. Amitabh Chowdhry stands disqualified in terms of the order dated 2nd January 2017 read with the order dated 3rd January 2017 and whether we should go ahead with the selection committee meeting as per your earlier emails or act on the instructions of Mr. Amitabh Choudhary.”

The matter was set to rest when Sankaranarayanan responded, “It is clarified that Mr. Amitabh Chaudhary stands disqualified and is no longer the joint secretary of the BCCI or an office-bearer of the BCCI or a State Association by virtue of the orders of the Supreme Court dated 2.1.2017 and 3.1.2017. As a result, he has no authority to interfere with the BCCI and it's functioning or with the directions of this Committee. Please proceed with the Selection Committee Meeting as scheduled.”

Amitabh Choudhary believed that only he had the right to convene the meeting and that Rahul Johri did not. Talking to Sportstar, Choudhary said: "The order of the Supreme Court is paramount. By its order I was supposed to be discharging the duties of the Secretary. I have completed nine years in Jharkhand, not even three years in the BCCI. So I asked the CEO not to go ahead with the meeting. But he has gone ahead. So I will go back home or wherever."