With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) maintaining absolute secrecy over the outcome of the inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Rahul Johri, one of the deponents put out two eye-catching tweets.
The high-profile deponent is Neeraj Kumar, a former commissioner of police, Delhi, and one-time head of the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
Safe to say that the upright Kumar has been privy to some of the happenings in the BCCI, which has stumbled from one controversy to another since the very troublesome summer of 2013.
At 6.14 pm on Tuesday, Kumar tweeted: “No news is not so good news in the BCCI inquiry.”
Some 31 minutes later, Kumar was much more blunt: “Delay, suspense, mystery... All portents of a cover-up in #BCCI INQUIRY COMMITTEE?”
The second tweet, akin to a sledgehammer blow, set the proverbial cat among the pigeons.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kumar said: “Clearly, the fraternity wants to know the outcome of the inquiry, but all we have is silence.”
Those sympathetic to Johri have, of course, been more than whispering that he’s got a “clean chit.” That too, for the past few days.
If that indeed is so, how did it get leaked?
It’s not, by the way, disputed that Johri has the backing of a “most influential” gentleman in the national Capital.
The inquiry has been conducted by Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma, Barkha Singh and Veena Gowda.
Technically, Supreme Court-appointees Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, Administrators both, constituted the “independent” panel. In reality, however, the appointment was only made by Rai as Diana opposed an inquiry and favoured outright action against Johri.
Diana’s point was that the BCCI couldn’t afford to have a ‘tainted’ CEO. Rai, the chief Administrator, advocated “natural justice.” Being in the chair, Rai prevailed.
As reported in these columns, Johri has continued to work, “from home.” Wonder how many in a similar situation would have been treated the same way.
In this #MeToo season, that is.
That apart, some have questioned the manner in which the panel has gone about conducting the inquiry.
It’s intriguing why the panel didn’t give a fresh date to the BCCI’s acting secretary, Amitabh Choudhary, to depose when one gathers he’d formally communicated that he would be free on any date post November 20, after the end of the rituals associated with the passing away of his mother.
BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary Telegraph file picture
That’s not all...
Why didn’t the panel ask the woman employee of the BCCI who’d been “harassed” by Johri to depose? Significantly, she’s in the possession of a “written apology.”
Depositions concluded some days ago, so one can only speculate on the possible reasons for the delay in the report.
This reporter understands that the delay may have something to do with the transcripts of one or two of the deponents.
It’s possible that one or two could have had reservations over the transcripts forwarded for approval and, in turn, may have sought corrections.
The corrected transcripts were either not sent or returned, a second time, with reservations.
Surely, the BCCI should have issued a media release updating the world. More so as some have even been spreading the word that Justice Sharma, Singh and Gowda’s report would be out on Wednesday.
Is it that some have been betting on exactly that?