<
>

Rahul Dravid gets conflict of interest notice

Rahul Dravid on the sidelines of an India A training session at Headingley Getty Images

Rahul Dravid is the latest big-name Indian cricketer to be served a notice by the BCCI's ethics officer for alleged conflict of interest. This was in response to a complaint, which pointed out that Dravid was both National Cricket Academy director - as well as coach of the India Under-19 and India A teams - and a vice-president with India Cements, owners of Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

In July, Dravid's appointment to the NCA had been delayed because he was a paid employee of India Cements. As had been reported by the Hindu at the time, Dravid would be on a leave of absence from India Cements until such time as he serves as the head of NCA.

"Yes, I have sent a notice to Mr Rahul Dravid last week after receiving a complaint," Justice (retd) DK Jain, the BCCI's ethics officer-cum-ombudsman, was quoted as saying by PTI. "He has been given two weeks to reply to the allegations of Conflict of Interest. Based on his reply, I will decide whether to proceed further or not."

Dravid must now file a no-conflict reply and, if asked by Jain, appear for an in-person hearing.

Like in the cases of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, and, more recently, BCCI Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) panelists Kapil Dev, Shanta Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad, the complaint against Dravid came from Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta.

Tendulkar and Laxman were both members of the CAC earlier, while also being involved in different capacities with IPL franchises Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Separately, there was a conflict of interest complaint against former captain Sourav Ganguly, the third member of that CAC panel, who is president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, mentor of Delhi Capitals in the IPL, while also being a TV commentator.

Laxman and Ganguly were found to be in conflict in June. However, Jain ruled there was no issue of conflict against Tendulkar, after the latter submitted that he had decided not to be part of any BCCI committee, and had informed the board about it. As a result, the body was made defunct before being reconstituted with Kapil, Rangaswamy and Gaekwad.

As such, Rule 38 (4) of the BCCI constitution prevents individuals from holding more than one of 16 posts, which are listed therein. These are: Player (current), selector/member of cricket committee, team official, commentator, match official, administrator/office bearer, electoral officer, ombudsman & ethics officer, auditor, any person who is governance, management or employee of a franchisee, member of a standing committee, CEO & managers, office Bearer of a Member (state association), service provider (legal, financial etc.), contractual entity (broadcast, security, contractor etc.) and owner of cricket academy.

As for the Kapil-Rangaswamy-Gaekwad panel, the question of conflict came up because Kapil is also part of the steering committee on the newly formed Indian Cricketers' Association (ICA) where he is also one of directors. Incidentally, the ICA is funded by the BCCI. Kapil also works as an expert for Indian television channels. As for Gaekwad, it is alleged that in addition to working as a pundit on television channels, he is also part of the BCCI's Member Affiliation Committee, a sub-committee which grants membership to state associations. Gaekwad, too, is part of the ICA's steering group, as is Rangaswamy, who is also an ICA director.

The three of them, however, have been cleared and tasked with picking the next head coach of the senior Indian men's team. The decision is expected by mid-August.