India news February 29, 2016

BCCI selector, media manager cleared of conflict charge

ESPNcricinfo staff

Justice AP Shah, the BCCI ombudsman, said the allegations against Nishant Arora "cannot be an issue of consideration" © Hindustan Times

The BCCI ombudsman Justice AP Shah has ruled that there is no conflict of interest case that can be established against national selector Vikram Rathour and the board's media manager Nishant Arora.

Shah had responded to an application filed by freelance journalist Niraj Gunde who had alleged that Rathour, who holds a Britsh passport, was conflicted in his loyalty towards the BCCI. In Arora's case, Gunde pointed out to Shah that Arora and his wife were involved in a commercial venture called Final Score that has on its clients list senior Indian cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, as well as the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Assocation, of which BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur is president.

However, Shah dismissed allegations of conflict of interest in both cases. The ombudsman told Gunde there was no rule in Indian law or within the BCCI's rules on conflict of interest that Rathour, by virtue of holding a British passport as well as an overseas citizen of India card, had breached. "The Ombudsman does not agree with the applicant's (Gunde) contentions. There is no bar, in law or in the memorandum of association of the BCCI, to Rathour's association with the BCCI as a selector, by virtue of his holding an OCI card," Shah wrote in an email to Gunde.

"The Ombudsman also does not accept the argument that conflict of interest is apparent in such a case. In sum, no rule pertaining to conflict of interest is attracted, nor is any case of conflict of interest demonstrated. The application is therefore disposed of."

According to Gunde, Arora had violated the conflict of interest rule pertaining to the BCCI employees, which states neither he nor his near relative can be associated in any commercial venture with a member association and also cannot represent a cricket player.

However, Shah did not agree with that contention. An email sent to PTI from the Ombudsman's office stated that, "Mr Arora's wife does not hold any directorial post at Final Score. It appears that all shares owned by Mr Arora, his wife and his mother, in Final Score, were liquidated on December 2015, before this application was made by the Ombudsman.

"The applicant Mr Gunde was offered an opportunity to respond to Mr Arora's reply but no further response was received. It is evident that Mr Arora's claims are not contradicted. The application no longer stands, and is, therefore disposed of."

Comments have now been closed for this article