Jain, who passed his judgement on Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on Friday, has taken this up as his first matter as the Ethics Officer. Three Bengal-based cricket fans — Bhaswati Shantua, Abhijeet Mukherjee and Ranjit Seal — had alleged that Ganguly’s position as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president is in direct conflict with his role as an advisor of the Capitals.
Senior Supreme Court advocate Biswanath Chatterjee appeared on behalf on complainants Bhaswati Shantua and Abhijeet Mukherjee while Seal appeared in person in New Delhi. Apart from them, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri was also present through the duration of the deposition.
“I have heard both the parties as well as the BCCI and will soon give my order. Since hearing is over as per principles of natural justice, both parties can give their written submissions on what they have argued today in front of me. After going through these written submissions I’ll announce the final order is pronounced,” Justice Jain said after the meeting on Saturday.
With more than half of IPL 12 now over, Jain has not barred Ganguly from performing any role as yet nor has he been barred from sitting in the IPL dug-out.
“Of course, there is a timeline. I can’t tell you what happened as the matter is sub-judice. But the order will come out soon,” Jain said when asked if there was a deadline for announcing his decision.
The former India and Bengal captain will resume his role as DC advisor with the team set to host Kings XI Punjab at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday evening.
Ganguly also didn’t reveal much about what transpired in the meeting, saying that the ‘meeting went off well’ before leaving the premises. It is believed that Ganguly in his written submission had mentioned that his role with DC was an 'informal' one and that he had resigned from the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC).
"A couple of submissions in Ganguly's written reply were questioned in the deposition today. Ganguly's name is part of the 'team officials' of DC and not an 'informal' one as stated. Also he has not resigned from the CAC as he had stated before. If his CAC affiliation is deemed to be in conflict, the same rule might apply for Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, who are also affiliated with Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively," a senior BCCI official told CricketNext on Saturday.
Earlier, Johri in his letter to the Ethics Officer quoted Rule 38(4) of the BCCI Constitution that states that ‘one individual cannot occupy the posts of Office Bearer of a Member and be in governance, management or employment of a Franchisee at a single point of time.’
“After examining the role and responsibilities of Mr. Ganguly as President of the CAB in conjunction with his role as advisor to the Delhi Capitals franchisee, a decision in this regard may be taken. Similarly, Mr. Ganguly’s role as a member of the CAC in addition to being an advisor to the Delhi Capitals franchisee may be examined to see whether the conflict of interest is tractable or intractable,” the BCCI CEO had written.
The duration of deposition, which was more than double of those of Pandya and Rahul in Mumbai earlier this month, shows that the Ethics Officer is not taking this matter lightly. Jain knows that his decision in the matter will set a precedent that the BCCI will have to follow, especially when it comes to matter of ‘conflict of interest’. It remains to be seen which way Justice Jain will head.
First Published: April 20, 2019, 5:40 PM IST