By Arnab Sen and Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi: The Indian cricket team's dreams of acquiring the most modern set of travel equipment could soon be fulfilled as the BCCI's Committee of Administrators (COA), has asked board CEO Rahul Johri to take immediate action on the 134 hard-shell cricket suitcases, which are lying in a warehouse at the Mumbai harbour, awaiting clearance from the customs.
Speaking exclusively to Cricketnext over phone, Vikram Limaye, member of the Supreme Court-appointed COA, said that the committee was not aware of the matter earlier as it was not brought up by the old administration.
"I read the news in the papers and got to know about it. We were not informed about any such order that was pending. We have spoken to the Board CEO and asked him to sort the issue at the earliest," Limaye said.
A source close to the old administrators informed Cricketnext that Indian captain Virat Kohli had expressed his desire to own the latest model of travel equipment, used by most international cricket teams these days, after the T20I series in Florida against West Indies.
Subsequently an order was placed for the same to Amsterdam based Wheeliecase Cricket, which manufactures the suitcases. The norm in such cases is to get an approval from the board's secretary first and then go ahead with placing the order, something that was not followed.
"See, there is a process behind every purchase in the BCCI. First, permission needs to be sought from the secretary. After he agrees, an official mail is sent to the seller requesting for the product.
"Once the consignment is delivered, that is when the payment is cleared by the treasurer after having a look at the secretary’s approval letter and the bill from the merchant. But in this case, there was no approval letter from the secretary (Ajay Shirke), so how do you expect the payment to be cleared.
"In all probability, it was then newly appointed CEO Johri who had gone ahead and placed the order and thus the lack of paperwork," the source explained.
Cricketnext tried to get in touch with both Ajay Shirke and Rahul Johri, but they did not answer calls despite repeated efforts.
Ajay Shirke in a comment to The Indian Express said that he was not consulted before the placement of the order and that is the reason why he stopped the payment for the same.
When contacted, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary told Cricketnext that he was not aware of the whole development. “I have no idea about this, so it is not right on my part to comment,” he said.
So, while this game of passing the buck goes on, the Indian team continues to wait for their desired travel kits, despite bringing laurels to the country, everytime they set foot on a cricket ground.
Wheeliecase Cricket was not immediately available for comment on the matter.