BCCI Ethics Officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain has declared the daughter of former board chairman N Srinivasan and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president Rupa Gurunath guilty of “Conflict of interest” in an order issued Thursday. Rupa, the first woman chair of a BCCI affiliated unit, is a full-time director of India Cements Limited (ICL). She was found guilty of an indirect conflict of interest for ICL’s close association with Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKCL). The 13-page order indicates that CSKCL is part of the ICL “umbrella”. CSKCL owns the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise.
TNCA can challenge the order, a copy of which is with PTI, in court. The complaint was lodged by a certain Sanjeev Gupta d’Indore, a former life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA).
In the Order, Jain wrote: “All of these facts show that a backdoor network of entities, including CSKCL, has been created under the aegis of ICL. The management and governance of all of these entities, directly or indirectly, fall on the board of directors of ICL., although the defense argued that ICL had no stake in CSKCL “.
“In the given factual scenario, it can be safely inferred that the Respondent (Ms. Gurunath), as a full-time director and promoter of ICL, is closely associated with the trustees of IC Shareholders Trust and to the directors of CSKCL, which has a franchise agreement with BCCI. This is one of the recognized forms of conflict of interest in Rule 38 (1) (i), “the order was categorical.
Rule 38 (1) (i) of the BCCI Constitution concerns “conflicts of interest – direct or indirect”. “A direct or indirect interest constitutes: When the BCCI, a member, the IPL or a franchise enter into contractual agreements with entities in which the person concerned or his relative, partner or close associate has an interest.
“This should include instances where family members, partners or close associates are in a position which may or may be viewed as compromising participation, performance or the exercise of individual roles. Jain observed in his order that Rupa’s is a case of an “indirect” if not “direct” conflict of interest since CSKCL has entered into a franchise agreement with BCCI.
Concluding his 21-point order, Jain wrote: “For all of the above reasons, the Ethics Officer is satisfied that a conflict of interest case has been established against the Respondent. He is judged accordingly.
“Once the above conclusion has been reached, the BCCI will take the necessary measures in accordance with the law to ensure compliance with rule 38 (2) of the Rules in the case of the defendant”.
It should be mentioned that rule 38 (2) according to the constitution of the BCCI, relates to failure of disclosure.
“… Failure to issue full disclosure or any partial or total removal thereof would expose the individual to disciplinary action which may include termination or dismissal without benefit.”
“It is clarified that the statement does not lead to the presumption that in fact a questionable situation exists, but is simply for information and transparency.”
This order could be one of the last Jain has placed as his contract ends later this week, June 7, unless BCCI decides to renew it. It will be interesting to see what the BCCI’s position would be and whether it would ask Rupa to step down as TNCA chair.
It also has the discretion to allow the public body to appeal the order either to a new ethics officer or to a court.
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