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Pandya-Rahul Probe Delayed as SC Nominates New Amicus Curiae

Devadyuti Das |Cricketnext |January 18, 2019, 1:16 PM IST
Pandya-Rahul Probe Delayed as SC Nominates New Amicus Curiae

The probe to determine the course of action against K L Rahul and Hardik Pandya, who have been suspended for their comments on the TV talk show ‘Koffee with Karan’ will be delayed by at least a week, pretty much ruling them out of India’s limited overs tour of New Zealand starting on January 23. At a hearing in the Supreme Court on Thursday, the BCCI’s legal cell Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas stressed on the urgent need to appoint an Ombudsman, as prescribed in the newly registered BCCI constitution, so a decision on the quantum of punishment for the cricketers can be taken.

However, the Supreme Court has postponed the matter to next week as the Court-appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium has withdrawn from his role due to health reasons. The court has now nominated senior advocate P S Narasimha as the new amicus curiae to handle this matter. The Court was hearing petitions filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and pleas from CoA and BCCI.

“The court had no choice but to give a date next week,” petitioner from CAB Aditya Verma told CricketNext. “The amicus curiae’s job is to keep the Court up-to-date with the matters going on with CoA and the BCCI. The new amicus curiae will now have to get himself updated with the case before we’ll be able to proceed further.”

The divisions within the CoA over the handling of the issue have been well known with Chairman Vinod Rai in favour of a swift probe by an ‘ad-hoc Ombudsman’ while former India women’s captain Diana Edulji wanting to wait for a full-time appointment in the role. In fact, Edulji took the unusual step of appearing in court for the hearing, the first time in nearly two years that a CoA member has done so, and was represented by lawyer Amit Sibal. On their part, the BCCI lawyers apprised the court of the provision for an Ombudsman, who needs to be a retired Judge of Supreme Court or High Court.

“Ms Edulji is correct in raising the point about the Ombudsman. The SC has not given any special or additional powers to any one member of the CoA — in this case the chairman Vinod Rai. The very fact that she turned up with her own lawyer for this hearing points towards the discord within the CoA. The court needs to urgently rectify this issue,” Verma said.

11 member associations of the BCCI have already written to acting president CK Khanna to call for a Special General Meeting and appoint an Ombudsman, who can get to a decision over Pandya and Rahul since BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has already submitted his preliminary report based on statements by the two cricketers.

“The BCCI president can call for an emergency SGM to take up the matter of appointment of Ombudsman. It remains to be seen if he will take that call, now that SC is going to give us a new date,” Meghalaya cricket association secretary and convenor of North-East cricket development committee Naba Bhattacharjee told CricketNext.

A separate set of BCCI lawyers argued before the judges that that the CoA can’t function in its present form as there is a stalemate between Rai and Edulji on most issues.

The CoA also informed the court that 11 associations are now fully compliant with the new BCCI constitution. The Maharashtra Cricket Association raised the grouse that they have not been given their share of funds from the BCCI which has resulted in the Pune stadium being ‘symbolically’ taken over by bankers for default of loan payments.

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2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
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3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
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