A conflict of interest complaint has been filed against Virat Kohli for his positions in two business ventures, something his management company has termed as "absurd and entirely based on conjecture".
Complainant Sanjeev Gupta, a life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, wrote an email to BCCI ethics officer-cum-ombudsman Justice (retd) DK Jain and a number of BCCI executives, including president Sourav Ganguly and CEO Rahul Johri, arguing that Kohli's various posts were in violation of the BCCI constitution.
In his complaint filed on July 4, Gupta said that Kohli's co-directors at Virat Kohli Sports (LLP) and Cornerstone Venture Partners (LLP) were also directors in Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment Private Limited, a talent agency that contracts Indian cricketers and handles their branding and commercial interests. Justice Jain said he was examining the complaint.
"Shri Virat Kohli is occupying two posts at a time in blatant violation to BCCI Rule 38 (4) approved by Supreme Court Of India. As such, he must relinquish his one post at once in compliance. His two posts are covered as under: A - 38(4)(a) - Player and B - 38(4)(o) - Contractual Entity, to be read with BCCI Rule 38(1) (iii)," Gupta's complaint said.
Rule 38(4) of the BCCI constitution prevents individuals from holding more than one of 16 posts: 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.
"I have received a complaint," Justice Jain told PTI on Sunday. "I will examine it and then see if the case is made out or not. If yes, then I have to afford an opportunity to him (Kohli) to respond."
On Monday, Bunty Sajdeh, CEO of Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment Private Limited, responded with a clarification through a statement. "As a responsible agency, we once again reiterate that there is no conflict of interest with Virat or any of our other talent for that matter," Sajdeh said. "But third parties with whatever vested interests prefer to think otherwise. I request them to simply check facts before jumping to their own conclusions."
Gupta had previously filed conflict of interest complaints against Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman and also Rahul Dravid. In each of those instances, the ethics officer had served notices based on the complaints, but the former cricketers were eventually cleared.
12.30GST The story has been updated to reflect Cornerstone's response to the complaint