NEW DELHI, CHANDER SHEKHAR LUTHRA: Monday could be the day the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Anurag Thakur would not like to remember.
Whether the order from the three-member Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur would lead to prosecution against Thakur for committing perjury is a matter of speculation, but there will surely be a full stop on his career as a cricket administrator.
Justice RM Lodha panel has put forward the name of former union home secretary GK Pillai, along with the likes of former India all-rounder Mohinder Amarnath and former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai to oversee the BCCI administration, as it wants the current office-bearers to be removed for not implementing its recommendations in full.
With BCCI refusing to put any of these names in its ranks, SC, in all likelihood, is going to accept the names given by the Lodha panel. BCCI senior counsel Kapil Sibal, though, raised objection over Pillai’s name in the previous hearing on December 15 and the Apex court asked him to submit an alternate name. The name of amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam is also doing the rounds.
“If we submit any name from our side, that would be like accepting that board is not capable of performing functions. Let the court decide if they want people to govern cricket in this country,” a top BCCI office-bearer told DNA on the eve of the verdict.
Justice Thakur, who had come down heavily on BCCI for not applying the top court’s orders of July 18, is due to retire on January 3. He looked visibly upset in the last hearing and even warned BCCI president to not obstruct the process of reform.
The SC bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, had already warned Thakur to apologise if he wanted to escape perjury charges. It will be interesting to see what the BCCI chief writes in his ‘affidavit.
Plan B already in place
Knowing well the fate of BCCI and state associations, all senior office-bearers have already met several times over the last two months to ensure that a Plan B is firmly in place in almost all the associations.
The basic objections of BCCI against some Lodha panel recommendations include “age cap of 70, cooling off period of three years between terms and one state one vote policy”.
As many as six state associations have confirmed to DNA that it is ready to have new bosses of its own choice as and when it are forced to implement orders.
“Lodha panel can only force us to amend constitution and install new office-bearers. But it cannot remove our district units and voting members who are firmly behind us,” said a senior official from Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.
The situation in Haryana – where the family of Anirudh Chaudhry has been ruling for around four decades – or Punjab where MP Pandove is at the helm since 1976, are the same.
It would be interesting to see whether the SC-appointed administrators will try and address these issues. One may have to wait a little longer to know the answers to this, but the SC is likely to pronounce its crucial order at around 10.30am on Monday.