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Thakur tenders unconditional apology to Supreme Court

Anurag Thakur has been exempted from appearing in court during the next hearing on April 17 AFP

Ex-BCCI president Anurag Thakur has tendered an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court of India in response to a showcause notice relating to charges of perjury. The issue pertained to his affidavit asking the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar for a letter stating whether the appointment of an official from the Comptroller and Auditor General's office on the Apex Council would amount to governmental interference. The ICC does not permit government interference in the functioning of its member boards.

According to a Press Trust of India report, Thakur, who was present in the court, said he had never intended to file any false information before the apex court. "I (Thakur) have tendered my unconditional and unqualified apology and I have explained the circumstances. I had not intended to file any false information," senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for Thakur, told the three-member bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

The bench, which also includes Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, has fixed the matter for hearing on April 17 and also exempted Thakur from personal appearance on the day.

In his affidavit, Thakur had told the court that he had asked Manohar, who was BCCI president between October 2015 and May 2016, if he thought having a CAG official on the Apex Council could "invoke an action of suspension" from the ICC. Thakur said he asked Manohar during the Dubai meeting if he could issue a letter of clarification.

Thakur further said that during the ICC meetings in Cape Town in October 2016 he ran by Manohar the points and basis on which he was going to depose the affidavit to ensure the discussion between them was accurately placed on record.

"Thereafter, Mr Shashank Manohar personally dictated a portion of my affidavit," Thakur said. "At the end of the dictation, Mr Shashank Manohar had also remarked that it was natural for me to ask him for a clarification as I was a lawyer and did not understand the nitty gritties of the issues. Accordingly paras three and four of my affidavit dated 15.10.2016 filed before this Hon'ble Court are based on the dictation of Mr Shashank Manohar."

Thakur also said he had forwarded the "dictated paragraph" to ICC CEO David Richardson requesting him confirm the contents of the conversation. Richardson had told India Today that Thakur had asked the ICC for the letter. Thakur attached his letter to Richardson and the latter's reply.

The court also took up the matter of the show cause notice issued to Thakur relating to charges of contempt for having "obstructed and impeded" the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations.

Despite reminders from the Lodha Committee and directives from the court that it was binding upon the BCCI and state associations to implement the recommendations unconditionally, Thakur, in an affidavit filed on December 3, said he could not force the state associations to adopt the recommendations.

In its response, the court did not buy that argument. "We are prima facie of the view that Mr Thakur is liable to be proceeded with for contempt of court for having obstructed and impeded the orders of this Court."