BCCI gets Ombudsman's nudge on conflict of interest
The BCCI and former India captain Sourav Ganguly have failed to respond to the conflict of interest allegations against the latter within the specified deadline, forcing the board ombudsman, Justice AP Shah, to seek a fresh response on the matter.
On January 14, Shah had asked the BCCI and Ganguly to respond allegations of conflict of interest, relating to Ganguly's role on the IPL governing council, by January 27 and 28 respectively. Shah, however, has now asked board president Shashank Manohar to respond by February 8, and share information on BCCI rules pertaining to conflict of interest and guidelines for IPL officials.
In an e-mail sent on Friday, which has been accessed by ESPNcricinfo, Shah listed out the case against Ganguly. The main allegation, filed by Mumbai-based Niraj Gunde, centres around Ganguly's role in Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd., which owns a football franchise, Atlético de Kolkata, in the Indian Super League. In an elaborate complaint, filed on January 13, Gunde had alleged that Ganguly was involved in a commercial tie-up with the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group which had, in December, bought the Rising Pune Super Giants franchise in the IPL.
"Specifically, the allegations are that Mr Ganguly is a co-owner of a company by the name of Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd., which owns the a football franchise by the name of Atlético de Kolkata," Shah wrote today in his e-mail to Manohar. "The company is allegedly co-owned by Mr Ganguly, along with businessmen associated with the RPG group. The RPG Group successfully bid for a cricket team based out of Pune that will participate in the forthcoming seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The allegation is that Mr Ganguly and the RPG group were partners in another commercial venture at the time of the bid for the Pune franchise being made, which was allegedly not disclosed."
Shah said he wanted to know the BCCI's stand on the allegation and its interpretation of the term conflict of interest. Incidentally, in October, Manohar had written a three-page letter, listing guidelines to avoid conflict of interest, directed at BCCI members, state associations, employees with the board and state bodies, and former and current players.
"The issue is whether this situation would lead to a conflict of interest, and it involves an interpretation of the rules laid down in this regard. Consequently, the Ombudsman has the following questions: 1. What is the stand of the BCCI on this issue? 2. Are the rules for conflict of interest intended to be exhaustive, i.e., do the rules cover all circumstances that the BCCI conceives to be within its definition of conflict of interest? 3. Could you also make available the rules/regulations/guidelines pertaining to the role and function of IPL commissioners?," Shah wrote.
On Friday evening, Ganguly, who is president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, said he had replied to Shah. "I did get the letter from the BCCI Office of the Ombudsman. I have already sent my reply to the Ombudsman and explained my position," Ganguly told reporters after a CAB meeting.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo