CHENNAI: Conflict of interest is becoming a recurrent theme in Indian cricket. After turmoil over this issue in the last few years, a fresh allegation has surfaced. It says a senior employee of the BCCI owns six clubs which play in the league conducted by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has been asked how he continues to be in the BCCI’s payroll. Documents accessed by Express show that the name of Mayank Parikh — who is the BCCI’s logistics manager (cricket operations) — appears as authorised signatory for Bombay Union Sports Club, Errant Cricketers, Superstar Sports Club, Victory Cricket Club, Young Boys Cricket Club and Youth Cricket Club.
Even on the MCA website, Parikh’s name is mentioned as authorised signatory for five of these clubs, except for Superstar SC. This is similar to the allegation against the late MV Sridhar, who the CoA had asked to resign for not disclosing that he was running clubs that play in the Hyderabad Cricket Association league. Sridhar subsequently resigned from his post as general manager of cricket operations last year. In fact, it was the CoA which on February 22, 2017, introduced a disclosure form for every employee to avoid conflict of interest issue.
As per this directive, an employee of the BCCI is not supposed to own any club in any of its affiliated state units. Citing this reason, the BCCI had also sought an explanation from Sridhar. Parikh, who was logistics manager of the Indian team when they won the World Cup in 2011, was appointed by the BCCI as logistics manager of cricket operations in 2015. When contacted, Parikh, who is currently in Baroda, refused to comment. Even CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji did not respond to repeated calls. Officials in the BCCI as well as MCA said the CoA has been silent on this, despite the matter being brought to their attention.
“He regularly attends MCA meetings as representative of the clubs along with his family. This hasn’t been stopped or questioned by anyone,” an MCA insider told Express. He confirmed that Parikh is not just the authorised signatory, but he also owns these clubs. Parikh has attended several meetings of the MCA in the presence of two former retired judges who were appointed as administrators by the Bombay High Court in April 2018 to implement the Justice Lodha panel recommendations. “Parikh has not disclosed any of this to the BCCI or to the CoA. And if he has, then why hasn’t the CoA sought any response from him,” people in the know questioned.
A top BCCI official drew a parallel with the case of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, who had to sell his shares in a company to continue as BCCI commentator. “In one of the CoA meetings, it was recorded that to continue as a commentator, Gavaskar had to divest his shares in the company. And that too, not to a relative, but to a third person. In this case, the BCCI employee himself is the authorised signatory. Is it not conflict of interest? Why hasn’t the CoA made attempts to find out the truth? Clearly, there cannot be a different set of rules for different people. Of late, the CoA has been sending contrasting signals,” said sources familiar with BCCI matters. firstname.lastname@example.org