Vengsarkar, Shukla cleared of conflict of interest charges

While former cricketers Praveen Amre and Raghuram Bhat were found to be in conflict of interest by the BCCI ombudsman, A. P. Shah, Dilip Vengsarkar and IPL governing council's chairman Rajeev Shukla was cleared of the charge.

The complaint on IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla was dismissed by the BCCI ombudsman.   -  Kamal Narang

Former cricketers Praveen Amre and Raghuram Bhat have been found to be in conflict of interest by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) ombudsman, A. P. Shah. Dilip Vengsarkar and Indian Premier League chairman Rajeev Shukla were cleared of the charge.

Amre, who is a member of the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) managing committee, is a part of the coaching staff of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Deredevils. He had said that his role as an 'elected member of the MCA managing committee did not get affected by his IPL stint, but Shah clearly stated that he shouldn't hold both the positions during the next IPL, and has urged the board to take action against him.

“Mr Amre should not have taken any position in the coaching staff of an IPL franchise, while being an administrator,” he stated in his order. “At the risk of repetition, no Administrator (Managing Committee member) can be on the pay roll of an IPL franchise. The BCCI is also directed to write to all the IPL franchises to clarify Rule 1(A) (B) of the Rules on Conflict of Interest that the franchises cannot employ any Administrator (as defined in the Rules) as part of its support staff.”

Vengsarkar, a former chief selector, is the vice president of the MCA and director of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) (both honorary positions), was alleged to be running a cricket academy for junior cricketers in Pune.

Shah, however, said there wasn’t a conflict as he was neither a coach nor a part of the selection process, and that his role in the NCA was honorary. Shah agreed with Vengsarkar’s contention that his appointment as NCA director ought to be viewed vis-à-vis his stature as former India captain.

“It is an admitted fact that Mr. Vengsarkar is not being paid any salary, and his appointment as Director, NCA is an honorary post (presumably in light of his distinguished cricketing past),” Shah said, “It is also an admitted fact that Mr. Vengsarkar has been running cricket academies for 21 years.”

The Ombudsman also upheld the complaint of conflict of interest against former Ranji Trophy cricketer Bhat.

Bhat is the head of Karnataka's under-14 and under-16 selection committees while working at the Brijesh Patel Cricket Academy and the IDBI Academy. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has now been directed by the Ombudsman to ask Bhat to relinquish his role at the private academies.

A complaint has also been received against former Karnataka and India pace bowler Dodda Ganesh and N. Girish but the Ombudsman has not received any reply from the duo. They have been directed to reply by July 16, failing which the application against them would be decided ex parte.

The complaint lodged against Shukla is over his wife’s ownership of a news TV channel whose ad slots are sold by Star India which also holds the broadcast rights of matches conducted by BCCI since 2012. But IPL GC chairman Shukla had replied that Star was not the official broadcaster of the Twenty20 League.

Shukla had further stated that it was the BCCI’s marketing committee that grants broadcast rights for cricket in India after a transparent bidding process and he has never been member of that committee.

“The Ombudsman is of the view that this is not a fit case for taking any action, since no case is made out for conflict of interest in Mr Shukla’s role as per the BCCI Rules on Conflict of Interest. Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed,” said Justice Shah.