The BCCI Administrators Committee was divided in the middle, and in public, on the handling of the harassment allegations against the executive director of the board, Rahul Johri. The president, Vinod Rai, has announced an independent three-member committee to investigate the allegations, but his decision nullifies the preference of Diana Edulji, the other CoA member, for Johri to resign or cancel her contract.
These details were part of a remarkable press release issued by the BCCI late on Thursday night, which made public the deep divisions between the two members of the CoA. The panel announced that it will be chaired by Rakesh Sharma, former judge of the Allahabad High Court, who also includes PC Sharma, former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (India's leading research agency) and Barkha Singh, a former President of the Women's Commission of Delhi, and said that she would report on her findings and recommendations within 15 days.
Johri had been the subject of an anonymous complaint on Twitter on October 12 and has since gone on leave. He has also denied the accusations made against him, the statement said. In analyzing the allegations against Johri, the statement added that the committee "may take into account and / or investigate all allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Johri while employed at the BCCI."
However, the statement is explained in detail the period prior to the appointment of the committee. He said that the CoA met on October 20 and 22 on the issue, when Rai favored the creation of an independent committee "to follow due process of law and the principles of natural justice."
Edulji, the statement said, felt that Johri should resign or that his contract be resolved, since "he has serious sexual harassment allegations against him" and "would not be of interest to the BCCI and Indian cricket representing to the BCCI. "
Rai, according to the statement, did not agree and considered that an independent investigation was necessary since the tweet was anonymous. It also referred to a period long before the CEO joined BCCI and it was necessary to provide natural justice to the CEO following due process of law. He said that "it was very clear" that, in similar cases, the person against whom the accusations had been made was allowed to represent his case before an independent committee that would then take a considered opinion after weighing all the evidence.
Edulji said then she felt that such an investigation was not necessary or appropriate and that there was sufficient ground for the removal of Johri. He then informed Rai that he would approach Supreme Court senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium "for further guidance if no action is taken and the CEO is allowed to continue."
The statement then said that, after taking legal advice and "requesting the hearing of points from other relevant sectors," the proposed members of the independent committee were contacted for their consent.
Johri has been on leave since the accusations surfaced, and withdrew from last week's attendance at the ICC Executive Directors Committee meeting in Singapore. After the announcement by the BCCI of the external panel, Johri will stay away from his work and from his current workplace until the external committee transmits his decision to the COA, and not until October 29 as previously announced.