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At least one woman set to move probe panel against Rahul Johri

#MeToo effect, Terms of Reference not limited to tenure in BCCI
Vinod Rai
Vinod Rai

Lokendra Pratap Sahi   |   Calcutta   |   Published 30.10.18, 10:05 PM

At least one lady, not the unnamed person who put out a #MeToo-category tweet on another individual’s Twitter handle on October 12, is set to formally complain against Rahul Johri, CEO of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Well-placed sources of The Telegraph said as much on Tuesday evening, some hours after the Terms of Reference for the three-member independent panel constituted by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) were made public via the Board’s website.

As reported in these columns, lawyer Veena Gowda has come in place of former Central Bureau of Investigation director P.C. Sharma, who had to recuse himself on account of conflict of interest.

Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma and Barkha Singh, former chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, are the others on the independent panel.

It has to be repeated that Administrator Diana Edulji differed with Vinod Rai, who chairs the CoA, and so the latter alone ended up appointing the independent panel. That one member had to recuse himself was, therefore, hugely embarrassing for Rai alone.

In a general context, the Board’s image too took a beating.

The Terms of Reference cover both Johri’s current employment as also his days outside the Board. That is mightily significant and must be seen as a victory for Diana.

Johri has been the CEO from April 2016. Incidentally, he didn’t figure at No.1 when the shortlist of the most suitable candidates was submitted to the Board by a head-hunting firm.

Surely, that says something.

The Terms of Reference:

  • 1. The Committee shall enquire into and/or probe allegations of sexual harassment that have been made against Mr Rahul Johri, CEO BCCI, whether anonymous or otherwise, whether they relate prior to his employment with the BCCI or otherwise, in accordance with law. The Committee shall submit a report containing its findings and recommendations in a sealed cover to the Hon’ble Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). The Committee is requested to submit the said report within 15 days of its appointment.
  • 2. The Committee shall be free to regulate and stipulate the rules of procedure for the conduct of the enquiry in accordance with law, principles of fairness, transparency and natural justice.
  • 3. The proceedings and the deliberations of the Committee, including the name and identity of any complainant who comes forward before the Committee, if any, shall be kept strictly confidential. Mr Rahul Johri shall be obligated to keep all the information disclosed to him during the course of the proceedings strictly confidential.
  • 4. For the purpose aforesaid, the Committee shall be free to seek all records/evidence that it considers necessary from the BCCI or any other person. The Committee may also call such persons as it considers necessary to appear before it. For this purpose, the BCCI shall render all assistance that the Committee may require, including by making logistical arrangements for such persons and/or providing for their expenses.
  • 5. Any person who is desirous of placing any fact before the Committee shall be free to do so. For this purpose, the Committee shall issue an appropriate public notice, containing relevant contact details/email id(s) and co-ordinates for submission of information and timeline for doing so, which shall be published on the BCCI website and/or any other medium, as it may deem fit.
  • 6. The BCCI and all its office-bearers/employees/consultants shall provide all assistance and co-operation to the Committee as it may require. The BCCI shall also create dedicated email ids on its domain for the Committee and each of its members, respectively. The said email ids shall be in the control of the Committee and each of its members, respectively. With regard to any aspect of the enquiry, the Committee and each of its members shall correspond with one another and with third parties only from the said email ids. Every person within the BCCI shall forward all relevant information/complaint/details that they may receive or have received from any quarter in connection with the enquiry to the said dedicated email id created for the Committee.
  • 7. The first meeting of the Committee shall be held in Mumbai at the BCCI Headquarters. The Committee shall be free to decide the venue for its next meetings as per its convenience. At its first meeting each member of the Committee shall make a declaration of absence of conflict of interest in conducting an independent and fair enquiry against Mr Rahul Johri. Further, at the first meeting of the Committee, the CoA or any of its members shall disclose and provide a copy of all relevant material, information and documents in their possession including the correspondence exchanged with Mr Rahul Johri to the Committee. The CoA or any of its members shall be free to provide any further information, details and material to the Committee for the consideration of the Committee.
  • 8. The Committee members shall be paid Rs 1,50,000 per day/meeting by the BCCI. In addition, the Committee members shall be entitled to a one-time fee for reading the material and writing the report. The said fee shall be decided by the CoA separately. Travel, accommodation, logistics, administrative and other such arrangements for the Committee shall be made by the BCCI at its expense. If any member of the Committee incurs any expense for the aforesaid purpose, the BCCI shall reimburse such expense to the member in a timely manner. Ms Karina Kripalani is designated as a contact person for the Committee to seek any assistance on any aspect from the BCCI and/or the CoA. Ms Nirmal Kaur is designated as a contact person for the Committee to seek any administrative or logistical assistance on any aspect from the BCCI and/or the CoA. Ms Karina Kripalani and Ms Nirmal Kaur shall both maintain utmost confidentiality with respect to all matters connected with the enquiry and shall report directly to the CoA for any permissions/approvals in this regard.

So much for the Terms of Reference...

That Kaur is associated throws up an obvious conflict of interest issue as she is Johri’s executive assistant and he hasn’t even been suspended (thanks to Rai) pending completion of the independent panel’s enquiry.

Johri, apparently, continues to “work” from his residence.

It’s odd that Kripalani too is involved as she has resigned from the Board and is serving her notice period. Kripalani headed the internal complaints committee till last week.

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