The Rahul Johri will drag on for some more time as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has decided to form an independent committee to look into the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
On a day when more than half a dozen state units came out in the open, demanding suspension of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Vinod Rai-led committee confessed to being divided over the issue as Diana Edulji demanded his removal. It was finally decided that the matter needed investigation.
Former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Rakesh Sharma will head the panel of three members with Barkha Singh, a former chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women and PC Sharma, a former director of the CBI. They have been given 15 days to “probe all allegations sexual harassment against Johri while he was employed with the BCCI. “The committee will be free to seek any record or evidence that it desires. Any person desiring to place any fact before the committee is also free to do so,” a BCCI statement said. Johri will be on leave till the completion of the inquiry.
The statement has said Edulji felt that it is not in the interest of the BCCI that Johri represented Indian cricket and his contract be terminated. “Ms. Edulji felt that neither is such an inquiry called for nor is it appropriate. She was of the view that considering the details and nature of the allegation, there were sufficient grounds for his removal. Ms Edulji informed the Chairman (Rai) she would approach Learned Amicus Curiae Shri Gopal Subramanium for further guidance, if no action is taken and the CEO is allowed to continue,” the statement said.
After taking legal advice as well as “soliciting view points from other relevant quarters,” the CoA formed the committee.
Key state units Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Saurashtra, Haryana, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have written letters to the CoA stating that the top official be treated just like Mohammad Shami, whose contract was suspended, pending inquiry, over a similar personal matter.
Johri could not be reached for a comment about the formation of probe panel but sources close to him said there is not charge since the social media post has been deleted while the state units upped the ante stating that CEO be suspended.
“The CoA and office bearers must appreciate the fact that the emergence of these allegations against the CEO of the BCCI has tarnished the reputation of the BCCI while the BCCI itself has reason to be aggrieved with Korn Ferry (headhunting firm which selected Johri) for not undertaking a thorough background check on Mr. Johri that some reporters seem to have undertaken in about 8 – 9 days,” the Saurashtra Cricket Association said, a view which was shared by other units too. When asked, Korn Ferry efused to comment on the matter citing policy of confidentiality.