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Independent panel to investigate harassment charges against Rahul Johri

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The Supreme Court of India-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) overseeing the functioning of the BCCI has appointed an independent three-member panel to investigate the charges of sexual harassment against Rahul Johri, the BCCI CEO.

The BCCI confirmed this in a statement on Thursday, October 25, adding that the panel has been asked to submit its report within 15 days. Johri will continue to be on leave till then.

Diana Edulji, former captain of the India Women team and a member of the CoA, is understood to have asked for Johri’s resignation even before the formation of the panel, while Vinod Rai, the CoA chief, called for due processes to be followed.

“CoA met on October 20 and 22 to consider the matter. The Chairman of the COA felt that in order to follow due process of law and principles of natural justice, an independent committee comprising of distinguished persons who are knowledgeable in this field should conduct a fair and transparent inquiry on an arm’s length basis and submit a report containing its findings and recommendation on the way forward,” said the statement from the BCCI.

“The independent committee could take into account and/or probe all allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Johri while he was employed with the BCCI.”

Edulji, however, wanted the BCCI to dissociate itself from Johri considering the seriousness of the allegations.

“However, the other member of the COA, Diana Edulji, expressed her view that since the CEO has such grave sexual harassment allegations against him, it would not be in the interests of BCCI and Indian cricket that he represents BCCI. In view of this she suggested that he resigns or his contract be terminated.”

Johri was named in an anonymous Twitter complaint on October 12 – it was alleged that he had misbehaved with a fellow professional in an earlier job. He has been on leave since then, though he has denied the allegations, and was stood down from attending last week’s ICC chief executives’ committee meeting in Singapore.

Rai and Edulji, the CoA members, differed on the course of action

Rai and Edulji, the CoA members, differed on the course of action

The statement continued: “The Chairman of the COA did not agree and felt that an independent inquiry was necessary as the tweet was anonymous. It also pertained to a period much before the CEO joined BCCI and it was necessary to provide natural justice to the CEO by following a due process of law.

“The Chairman was very clear that in similar instances, the person against whom allegations had been made, were permitted to represent their case before an independent committee which would then take a considered view after weighing all evidence.

“Edulji felt that neither is such an inquiry called for nor is it appropriate. She was of the view that considering the details and nature of the allegation, there were sufficient grounds for his removal. Ms Edulji informed the Chairman she would approach Learned Amicus Curiae Shri Gopal Subramanium for further guidance if no action is taken and the CEO is allowed to continue.”

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