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SC asks Thakur to tender 'unconditional' apology

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur speaks at a press conference AFP

The Supreme Court of India has asked former BCCI president Anurag Thakur to tender an "unconditional, unequivocal" and "categorical" apology to get relief from the contempt proceedings initiated against him.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud made it clear that it was not going to consider Thakur's earlier affidavit of apology and asked him to file a "one-page short affidavit" tendering unconditional apology.

"We will grant you one more opportunity," the bench said. "We suggest that you file a one-page affidavit in categorical language that you tender an unequivocal and unconditional apology for the misinformation or miscommunication that happened."

The court also asked Thakur to be present for its next hearing on July 14 to tender the apology. The bench indicated that it was willing to accept the apology and close the contempt proceedings against him.

Senior advocate PS Patwalia, appearing for Thakur, said though his client was willing to tender an unconditional apology, he had a very good case on merit through which it can be proved that he did no wrong.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae (friend of court) in the matter said if the court is magnanimous in granting pardon to Thakur, then he has nothing to say, but the apology should be unqualified and explicit in terms. The bench, however, said it would not go into the merit of the case.

The court had initiated contempt proceedings against Thakur on January 2 this year for filing a false affidavit over writing to the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, asking for a letter stating whether the appointment of an official from the Comptroller and Auditor General's office would amount to governmental interference. The ICC does not permit government interference in the functioning of its member boards.

"The conduct of the President of BCCI in seeking a letter from the President of ICC in August 2016, after the final judgement and Order of this Court, is nothing but an attempt on the part of the head of BCCI to evade complying with the Order of this Court," the court had said while issuing a showcause notice to Thakur.

Coming down heavily on the defiant BCCI brass, the Supreme Court had removed Thakur and Ajay Shirke as the president and the secretary for "obstructing" and "impeding" its directions for overhauling governance in the board. It had also appointed a Committee of Administrators to oversee BCCI's functions.

Thakur had, on March 6, tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the Supreme Court and said he had never intended to file any false information. His affidavit explained the circumstances under which the averments made by him led to the initiation of contempt proceedings.