MUMBAI: Ever since the Supreme Court accepted the sweeping reforms suggested by his committee, Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha and his colleagues in the panel haven’t been on the same page with top BCCI officials.
The latest salvo from the board came on Tuesday, where it claimed that the third Test between India and New Zealand, scheduled to start in Indore from October 8, was in danger because the Supreme Court-appointed committee had asked the BCCI’s bankers – Yes Bank and Maharashtra Bank – to freeze the cricket body’s funds. In an exclusive chat with TOI on Tuesday, the 67-year-old retired SC judge vehemently denied that his committee had given any such instructions to the banks. “Our e-mail has been misinterpreted by both the banks and the BCCI. It had come to the notice of our committee that at its emergency Working Committee meeting on September 30, the BCCI had disbursed large funds to its member associations.
“This was in breach of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as the first set of timelines set out by the committee, which included the fund disbursement policy to be framed by September 30,” Lodha said. “We never ordered the banks to freeze the accounts of the BCCI, and after reading about it in the morning, we informed them to defreeze them immediately. The BCCI is free to pay for its expenses to conduct its routine affairs regarding cricket,” he clarified. He hinted that this was the latest tactic employed by the board to stump the panel. “Either our e-mail hasn’t been read properly, or it is being presented in a wrong manner. It’s a way to divert attention,” he quipped.
The man who is supervising a complete change in the way cricket is governed in the country, is saddened by the board’s attitude towards his panel. “See, these reforms suggested by us were recommendations, but became an order of the court (SC) once it accepted them. It is indeed sad to see that the SC order isn’t being respected. If people stop following the order of the judiciary, then anyone will do anything he/she wants to,” he stressed.
“The SC has given our committee the responsibility to supervise the reforms, and we’re doing exactly that. We’ve mentioned in our status report what impediments we’ve faced while doing our duty,” he concluded.