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Pandya & Rahul Can be Suspended Pending Inquiry: BCCI Legal Cell to CoA

Devadyuti Das |Cricketnext |January 11, 2019, 4:52 PM IST
Pandya & Rahul Can be Suspended Pending Inquiry: BCCI Legal Cell to CoA

New Delhi: Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are facing the prospect of a spell on the sidelines after the BCCI’s legal cell communicated to the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that they can be suspended pending an inquiry. In a communication to the CoA on Friday morning, details of which are available with CricketNext, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, the BCCI’s legal cell informed the CoA that the enquiry needs to be completed within six months.

The CoA sought legal opinion after there was a dispute within its ranks on the course of action against Pandya and Rahul for their comments on the TV talk show ‘Koffee with Karan.’ While CoA Chairman Vinod Rai recommended a two-match ban for the two players, his colleague, former Indian women’s captain Diana Edulji, referred the matter to the legal cell for advice.

“Taking into account the relevant rules of the BCCI and considering that the inquiry process against the concerned players has commenced and is pending, it is open for the COA to suspend the concerned players (along with their privileges and benefits) pending enquiry and proceeding into the charges of misconduct until final adjudication. The suspension will however cease, if the said adjudication is not completed within six months,” the legal cell’s reply to the CoA read.

Edulji agreed with legal cell's opinion. "It is imperative that players be put under suspension till further course of action is decided for this misconduct as was done in case of (BCCI) CEO (Rahul Johri) when he was sent on leave on sexual harassment matter," Edulji's response to the legal opinion quoted by PTI read.

"Based on legal opinion and final procedure is laid down to address this issue, will recommend that a communication is sent to concerned players and team immediately," Edulji wrote.

According to the new BCCI constitution, Rule 40 states: “The BCCI shall appoint an Ombudsman at the Annual General Meeting for the purpose of providing an independent dispute resolution mechanism. The Ombudsman shall be retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of the High Court so appointed by the BCCI after obtaining his/her consent and on terms as determined by the BCCI in keeping with the dignity and stature of the office.”

The grievance redressal that could fall under the said Ombudsman’s purview include misconduct or indiscipline by any player, umpire, team official, selector or any person associated with the BCCI, according to Rule 41 of the BCCI constitution.

Keeping in mind the above, since the BCCI doesn’t have an Ombudsman at the moment, the legal cell has recommended the appointment of ‘ad-hoc ombudsman with a defined specific mandate of adjudicating on the present matter’, sources close to the CoA informed CricketNext.

The CoA had sent a showcause notice on Wednesday (January 9) to both Pandya and Rahul seeking explanation for their comments on the TV show hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar. Throughout the day on Thursday (January 10), mails were exchanged between Rai, Edulji and other BCCI officials such as acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, as they failed to find a consensus on the quantum of punishment.

“I have seen the remarks made by these two players on the show in print today. Very crass. No apology can cover it. I had asked Diana to suggest penalty because I had not seen the clip. I think we need to give both of them a two-match suspension,” Rai wrote in one of his initial mails.

“Suspension is, in any case, not a punishment and for the reporter misconduct, this suspension (pending inquiry) should have happened yesterday (January 9) itself, considering it was reported early. Therefore, the suspension must happen immediately,” the CoA chief wrote in another mail.

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