The controversy around Rahul Dravid's possible conflict-of-interest situation could be resolved by next week, with the BCCI's ombudsman saying today that he expects to decide on the issue by then. The BCCI, meanwhile, has restated its stand that Dravid is in the clear, with Vinod Rai, the chairman of its Committee of Administrators (CoA), saying it had no problem with his position.
Justice (retd) DK Jain, the BCCI's ombudsman-cum-ethics officer who sent Dravid a notice on Wednesday based on an external complaint, said he would wait for Dravid's reply before adjudicating on the matter.
Dravid is India's Under-19 and 'A' team coach, a vice-president with India Cements, owners of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, and, since early July this year, head of cricket operations at the National Cricket Academy. The firming up of the NCA job was delayed because of Dravid's association with India Cements but the decks were cleared on July 4 [he was originally expected to start on July 1], when it was confirmed that Dravid had taken a 'leave of absence' from India Cements while with the NCA, the duration of which hasn't been announced yet.
ESPNcricinfo understands that when the matter had come up for discussion at the time of Dravid's NCA appointment, due diligence based on the submissions - even about conflict of interest - from Dravid was done by the BCCI's legal team, among others, before a decision was taken, as is the norm.
"As far as the BCCI is concerned, there is no conflict of interest at all. The gentleman from Madhya Pradesh is misinformed. The BCCI doesn't have a problem with this" Vinod Rai
That might have been that but it emerged on August 7 that Jain had sent a notice to Dravid for alleged conflict of interest following a complaint from Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta. A subsequent news report then quoted Jain as saying that the leave of absence from India Cements was not enough to resolve the conflict issue.
"I am not in a position to say whether the leave of absence is good enough or not. I don't know who has written what, but I received a complaint and I have acted on it," Jain told ESPNcricinfo. "I have sent Mr Dravid a notice, and now I will take the next step once I hear from him.
"I am aware that he has been cleared to join the NCA, but that is all I can say. I am going to adjudicate on the matter only after I receive the no-conflict response from Mr Dravid," Jain said, adding that he expected a response "by next week".
From the CoA's point of view, nothing has changed on the Dravid front since he was cleared to take charge at the NCA, with a brief to convert the academy into a high-performance centre.
"Nothing has changed. As we had said at the time [of the NCA appointment], Dravid is not an India Cements employee at this stage. As far as the BCCI is concerned, there is no conflict of interest at all," Rai told ESPNcricinfo. "The gentleman from Madhya Pradesh [Gupta] is misinformed. The BCCI doesn't have a problem with this [Dravid's position].
"I have heard that a notice has been sent to Mr Dravid, and he will respond, but as far as we are concerned, there is no conflict."
Dravid isn't the first big-name cricketer to be questioned for alleged conflict of interest. Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman were both members of the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee earlier, while also being involved in different capacities with IPL franchises Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Separately, there was a 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 committee was made defunct before being reconstituted with Kapil Dev, Shanta Rangaswamy and Anshuman Gaekwad.
Conflict questions subsequently cropped up against the Kapil-Rangaswamy-Gaekwad panel too, 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.
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 part of Dravid's role at NCA, he will help create coaching and development programmes for both the men's A and the age-group teams, as well as for women's cricket. Dravid is also expected to create a programme for the development of physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches, keeping in mind the focus on fitness in modern cricket.
The BCCI confirmed in a statement on July 8 that Dravid's responsibilities would encompass men's, women's and age-group cricket. "Mr Dravid will also work closely with the national men's and women's head coaches and cricket coaches for India developmental teams - including India A, India Under-19, and India Under-23 teams - in the identification of key training and development objectives," the statement said. "He will also be responsible for monitoring progress against these objectives for the developmental teams and provide necessary inputs on the same to the senior men's and women's head coaches.