BCCI ombudsman seeks clarification on Thakur complaint
Justice AP Shah, the BCCI ombudsman, has asked independent journalist Niraj Gunde to clarify which rule would specifically apply in his complaint alleging a conflict of interest between BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and national selector Vikram Rathour.
Gunde confirmed that he had received the communication from the ombudsman's office. "Even assuming that the facts in the complaint are true, the Ombudsman wants me to quote the specific conflict-of-interest-related rule under which the complaint can be entertained," Gunde told ESPNcricinfo. Gunde said he has been given time till February 2 to respond.
Gunde had written a mail to Shah on Thursday alleging that Thakur and Rathour had "business connections." The mail further contends that Rathour was appointed and re-appointed as national selector when Thakur was an office-bearer.
"Mr. Rathour was appointed in the senior selection committee when Mr. Thakur was the Jt. Secretary of the BCCI representing North Zone at the behest of Mr. Thakur," Gunde wrote in the mail, which has been accessed by ESPNcricinfo.
"And [Rathour was] re-appointed in November 2015, when Mr. Thakur is the Hon. Secretary of BCCI. It is found that Mr. Rathour &/or his family members and Mr. Thakur &/or his family members are directors in various companies.
"It is clear that both these administrators are connected through business commercial relationship that either of them failed to disclose. It is a clear case of conflict of interest."
Gunde also attached a set of documents that sought to establish that Thakur was a director in companies which also had Rathour's relatives as its directors. This is the second complaint against Rathour, who was earlier alleged by Gunde of being a British citizen and hence his "loyalty" to the BCCI was conflicted.
Thakur contended it was a smear campaign and raised doubts over Gunde's motivations. "I think with the appointment of the ombudsman certain people are busy making false allegations," he told reporters after the meeting of the World T20 managing committee on Friday.
"Unfortunately these are limited number of people who have been involved in such activity with a certain motive and agenda in their mind. But we have to look at the overall advantage of having an ombudsman in place. The BCCI wants to be more transparent and accountable."
Thakur was also quoted by The Indian Express as saying that his business relationship with Rathour had "nothing to do with cricket", and that their families knew each other for four decades.
This is the latest in a series of complaints lodged by Gunde, who has also filed complaints with the ombudsman against Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, media manager Nishant Arora and junior selector Rakesh Parikh.
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo