Suspended cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul on Monday tendered “unconditional” apologies for their sexist comments during a TV chat show amid CoA chief Vinod Rai saying that the BCCI should correct the two players, not end their careers.
However, despite the apologies tendered by the duo, 10 BCCI units demanded a Special General Meeting to appoint an ombudsman for carrying out an inquiry. Rai’s fellow Committee of Administrators (CoA) member Diana Edulji wants an inquiry done by CoA and the BCCI office-bearers.
“Yes, Hardik and Rahul have submitted their reply to the fresh showcause notices that were served to them. They have tendered unconditional apology. The CoA chief has instructed the CEO to conduct an inquiry as per clause 41 (c) of the new BCCI constitution,” a senior BCCI official told agencies on conditions of anonymity.
Edulji fears a “cover up” in the controversy, triggered by Pandya and Rahul’s much-condemned statements on ‘Koffee with Karan’ in which they spoke about hookups with multiple women and being casual about it even with their parents. The comments have been described as “inappropriate” by India skipper Virat Kohli.
Brought back midway from the tour of Australia, Pandya and Rahul’s immediate fate hangs in balance with the World Cup less than four months away. Rai, in an e-mail to Edulji, said that the “BCCI is not in the business of ending young careers”.
“Please be assured that the desire to conduct the inquiry is not a desire to ‘cover up’. The interest of cricket in India has to be kept in mind. The off the ground act of the players was deplorable. It was crass as I said immediately after reading the comments,” Rai wrote.
“It is our responsibility to reprimand them, take corrective action, sensitise them of their misdemeanour and then get them back on to the ground once they have suffered the consequences,” he said.
The former CAG stated in his mail that players have been “shamed” after being recalled from an international tour, the ongoing ODI series against Australia, and principles of natural justice demands that they be heard.
“We have shamed them by recalling them from an ongoing tour. We have suspended them from further games. We need to correct them and not bring their career to a cul de sac by indefinitely delaying a decision. These misdemeanours require swift action, with a corrective approach,” he added.
The road to redemption for the duo could prove to be a tricky.
As per the new constitution, the secretary — in this case the acting secretary — can call an SGM on 21 days’ notice but if it has to be an Emergent SGM within 10 days, the board president (acting president) in this case has to convene the meeting.
“It will be interesting what call Khanna will take. If I remember, he once didn’t sign the minutes of SGM fearing that it would be in violation of Supreme Court orders. On another occasion, he didn’t even attend an SGM,” a state unit member, who was present during both the meetings, said.
“There is a possibility that Khanna may instruct Amitabh Chaudhary to call a normal SGM with 21 days’ notice which a secretary is allowed to,” he added.