CHENNAI: In headlines for the Justice Lodha panel’s suggestion to relegate it to associate member status, the National Cricket Club is in the news for another reason.
This non-playing affiliate headquartered at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens held its AGM on December 31. Elected to the NCC executive body of 21 were a host of Cricket Association of Bengal officials, including its president Sourav Ganguly. CAB joint-secretaries Avishek Dalmiya, Subir Ganguly and treasurer Biswarup Dey are also in this body, which is yet to nominate office bearers like president, secretary etc.
Asked whether the presence of so many office bearers of one BCCI unit in the decision-making body of another amounts to conflict of interest, people in the know were not unanimous. Amid defence of the situation, came suggestions that given the recent upheavals in BCCI stemming from this issue, this is a case of conflict of interest. The Lodha panel has been severe on this and recommended BCCI officials be barred from holding posts in state bodies, without saying anything on members holding posts in two associations. Until Wednesday, there was no news of formal talk about this at the board level.
The late Jagmohan Dalmiya was president of CAB and NCC at the same time, but this point was not raised before he passed away last September. “As far as I know, there’s nothing wrong if a person holds posts in two units of the BCCI, as long as there’s no commercial interest. Nobody objected when Mr Dalmiya headed CAB and NCC,” said one of the CAB officials elected to the NCC executive body, which includes former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta and BCCI’s legal adviser Ushanath Banerjee.
Although the situation was different during the days of the former ICC and BCCI president, when conflict of interest was not a burning issue, a senior BCCI member from another zone supported this claim. “If I don’t derive any advantage because of my dual role, I can be an office bearer in another unit. Legally, there’s nothing unusual about it.”
Not all in the BCCI are on the same page. Some felt despite there being no legal obstacle, context makes the matter of officials of one unit taking charge of another contentious. A well-placed member said the situation can be exploited, because an appeal in court might lead to complications.
“The presence of top CAB officials in NCC means effectively, CAB will have two votes in BCCI. If the same set of people runs two bodies, others can say one will have an additional vote. Going by recent examples in the court, it’s a clear case of conflict of interest. The BCCI has to decide if this is acceptable. In times of such hue and cry over these issues, BCCI also has to decide if this looks good.”
Speaking for the dissidents in NCC, Prabhat Jhawar said they have written about it to BCCI’s ombudsman AP Shah, along with complaints over the election procedure. Attempts to contact top CAB officials didn’t bear fruit.