Supreme Court asks Lodha Panel to set financial limits for BCCI

BCCI's financial powers to be curbed

The Supreme Court’s verdict on Friday morning came as a big jolt to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The court asked the Lodha Panel to restrict BCCI’s financial powers. It also observed that BCCI president Anurag Thakur will have to appear in front of the Lodha Panel and an auditor will scrutinize BCCI’s accounts.

The top court also stated that all high-value contracts need to be checked and BCCI chief will have to explain how they intend to comply to the Lodha Panel recommendations. The next hearing in the case will be on December 5.

Justice Lodha, in an interview with ANI said that he has nothing personal against Anurag Thakur and is willing to reach a common ground. “Nothing against him, we invited him earlier also. If the court has observed, we will definitely interact with him.”

Earlier, The Supreme Court on Tuesday had dismissed a petition filed by Board of Control for Cricket in India  (BCCI) seeking review of the court verdict validating Lodha Committee recommendations. The amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium on Monday had told court that BCCI’s entire top brass had to go for effective implementation of Lodha committee recommendations. He had also recommended the appointment of administrators.  Continuing the suspense, the court reserved its order yet again, giving more time to BCCI for compliance.

The court on Monday decided to consider other penalties like fines and monetary sanctions until the BCCI implements Lodha committee recommendations completely. The court indicated that removal of BCCI top officials could be used for compliance after the court has exhausted other means. The court said it understood the problems of BCCI. But, there appears to be defiance and obstruction. Meanwhile, the BCCI in its response said that all the recommendations of Lodha panel were not needed to maintain transparency.

The Supreme Court has been putting pressure on BCCI to implement Lodha panel recommendations. The BCCI has put up a brave front, refusing to implement the recommendations. During a general body meeting on Saturday, the BCCI said it was opposed to apply all the recommendations of the Lodha panel.

“As per the Societies Act, we require a three-fourths majority to amend our constitution. If the members don’t agree, what can we do? If the Supreme Court gives us the immunity to pass the resolutions without a three-fourths majority, we will do it right away,” BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke told The Indian Express.

“During our meeting, the members have clearly stated that their voting is not based on whether the grants due to them (from the BCCI) are paid or not, but voting is based on principle and facts, and the practical difficulties in accepting the Lodha Committee recommendations in toto,” he said.