Lodha committee asks banks to halt BCCI disbursements

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel, in a letter, asked banks not to release funds to execute the decisions taken by the BCCI. The letter has also been addressed to BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, CEO Rahul Johri and treasurer Anirudh Choudhary.

Justice Lodha BCCI

Justice R. M. Lodha.   -  R.V. Moorthy

The stand-off between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee, the Supreme Court-appointed panel to oversee reforms ordered on July 18, is going down the wire. Two days after the BCCI virtually defied the SC order by not adopting the new rulebook, the Lodha panel has barred the BCCI banks from releasing any funds in relation to last week’s sudden decision to disburse the surplus through Champions League Twenty20 settlement among state associations till the Supreme Court hearing on October 6.

An email to that effect was sent on by the Lodha Committee to the BCCI office-bearers and both its banks on Monday. “It has come to the notice of this Committee that certain decisions have been taken at the ‘Emergent Working Committee’ meeting of the BCCI on 30th September 2016 to disburse large funds to the various member associations,” stated the email, sent by Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

“…you are hereby directed not to take any steps towards financial disbursement of the amounts as resolved / approved after the direction dated 31.8.2016. Any violation of this direction will be placed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for appropriate directions.”

According to a BCCI official, who was a party to the abruptly-convened working committee meeting on September 30, it wasn’t a sudden decision. “It is not as if the BCCI acted in haste. The matter had already been approved by the finance committee earlier and since some of the members had sent us a reminder of the non-payment, it was decided to approve it,” he said, preferring anonymity.

He said the Lodha Committee’ action has virtually put the BCCI’s financial wing to a standstill. “The banks have informed us they may be able to make any payments till further instructions from the court.”

Sportstar understands that the non-payment of CLT20 surplus had been discussed in the BCCI annual general meeting on September 21. The root of the huge windfall is the settlement of Rs. 1,603. 11 crore, as specified in the BCCI annual report for 2015-16, that was added to the BCCI coffers as the settlement fees after Star India was allowed to scrap the CLT20 broadcast deal.

For the year 2014-15, the BCCI had received Rs. 617 crore as the settlement amount and the AGM on November 9, 2015 had decided to distribute the half of it equally among its full members who are entitled to grants. As a result, each state association had been allotted approximately Rs 12 crore in addition to its annual subsidy.

For 2015-16, the BCCI finance committee had approved Rs. 750 crore to be distributed equally among its full members. A state association official who attended the AGM revealed that when the issue was raised in the AGM on September 21, it was discussed that it remained a contentious issue since the house wasn’t sure if the Lodha panel would allow it to be carried out.

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