Lodha Committee tells BCCI to submit an undertaking

In its order dated October 21, the Supreme Court stated that the BCCI President and Secretary should meet the Lodha Committee with its compliance letter in two weeks.

The Secretary to the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, has reminded the BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke (in pic) though an email dated Nov. 3 (copied to President Anurag Thakur and CEO Rahul Johri) saying: "We invite your attention to this Committee’s emails dated 24th October 2016 and 29th October 2016 calling upon the President BCCI to give an unqualified undertaking on behalf of the BCCI to unreservedly comply with the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21st October 2016.   -  Vijay Bate

The Supreme Court appointed Justice R. M. Lodha Committee, which has received the mandate to implement its reforms in cricket report, has pointed out to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that through its email-communication dated Oct. 24 and Oct. 29, it has called upon the BCCI President, Anurag Thakur, to submit an undertaking that the Board will comply with the apex court order of Oct. 21. The compliance is with regard to the BCCI expressing its readiness to adopt the full reforms in cricket report as recommended by the Justice Lodha Committee and validated by the Supereme Court on July 18. In its order dated October 21, the Supreme Court stated that the BCCI President and Secretary should meet the Lodha Committee with its compliance letter in two weeks; this has not happened.

The Secretary to the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee, Advocate, Supreme Court, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, has reminded the BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke though an email dated Nov. 3 (copied to President Anurag Thakur and CEO Rahul Johri) saying: "We invite your attention to this Committee’s emails dated 24th October 2016 and 29th October 2016 calling upon the President BCCI to give an unqualified undertaking on behalf of the BCCI to unreservedly comply with the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 21st October 2016. The Committee is yet to receive such an undertaking. It is clarified that the undertaking is necessary to implement the directions contained in the Order of the Supreme Court, dated 21st October 2016. The requirement for such an undertaking is not a mere formality. In the absence of the undertaking, the Committee finds it difficult to implement the order of the Supreme Court by issuing necessary directions to BCCI."

> Read: Lodha Committee advises BCCI to comply with SC orders

The Lodha Committee’s pointed reminder was in response to a BCCI communication of Oct. 28 that sought clarification if it can go ahead with the "urgent appointment" of (1) vendors for IPL 2017 (2) vendors for domestic and international cricket seasons and (3) to identify and appoint vendors for certain other services at all venues.

Explaining its position the Lodha Committee has told the BCCI that: "Please note that neither identification nor appointment of vendors or contractors is the task or function of the Committee. The Committee is only required to fix a threshold value and approving awards of contracts above such threshold value and that for the purpose of fixing the threshold value and to appoint the independent auditor, the following information is required for each of the heads referred to in your above letter.

They are (1) The contract value of each of the individual contracts referred to (2) The term of each of the proposed contracts along with when each of the existing contracts is to expire (3) The existing norms or guidelines relating to the appointment of vendors (4) The tender processes followed for the different categories of vendors (5) Whether the contract is done through e-auction or not (6) The cumulative value of contracts under each category and of all of them put together.

The Lodha Committee has asked for the above information in five days, starting from Thursday (Nov. 3). "It is only on examining the above that the Committee would be able to fix a threshold value and also assess the nature of work involved for appointing the independent auditor and formulating his terms of engagement. All of this information shall be submitted within 5 days from today."

> Read: BCCI asked to provide report on mismanagement of funds

And replying to the BCCI’s query (through a letter dated Oct. 28) on release of payments to associations in connection with players’ allowances, hotels, transport, hosting fees, etc, the Committee has said: "Paragraph 20 (i) of the order dated 21st October 2016 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court mandates compliance by the State Associations concerned before disbursement of any funds by the BCCI. Therefore the question of the Committee issuing any directions in that behalf does not arise."

20 (i) says: BCCI shall forthwith cease and desist from making any disbursement of funds for any purpose whatsoever to any State association until and unless the State association concerned adopts a resolution undertaking to implement the recommendations of the Committee as accepted by this Court in its judgment dated 18 July 2016. After such a resolution is passed and before any disbursement of funds takes place to the State association concerned, a copy of the resolution shall be filed before the Committee and before this Court, together with an affidavit of the President of the State association undertaking to abide by the reforms contained in the report of the Committee, as modified by this Court. Any transfer of funds shall take place to the State associations which have accepted these terms only after compliance as above is effected. This direction is in addition to the previous direction of 7 October 2016 in regard to the disbursement to and appropriation by the State associations.

Further the Lodha Committee has made it clear to the BCCI that even for the appointment of production crew the Committee cannot give any direction until and unless the BCCI gives an undertaking that it would adopt the reforms in cricket in full.

In conclusion the Lodha Committee has told the BCCI Secretary thus: "You may also note that this Committee is not a full-time Committee, nor does it have a Secretariat. The members are situated in different cities and the Committee meets as and when necessary. It is made clear that the Committee is not an adversary as has been made out in the Press Advisory dated 24th October 2016. The Committee would issue directions from time to time in terms of the orders of the Supreme Court, but not as a response to your mails."