Conflict of interest: Tendulkar holds BCCI 'responsible for the situation'
Sachin Tendulkar sends across 13-point response to BCCI ombudsman, asks for Vinod Rai and Rahul Johri to be called to 'clarify their position'
Sachin Tendulkar has rejected the BCCI's observation that the conflict-of-interest charges against him fall in the "tractable category', holding the board "responsible for the situation". The issue arose because of his dual role as member of the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and an icon with Mumbai Indians.
In his 13-point response to BCCI ombudsman and ethics officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain, Tendulkar has requested for Vinod Rai, the chief of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, and Rahul Johri, the BCCI CEO, to be asked to "clarify their position" on the matter.
According to clause 38 (3) (a) of the BCCI's constitution: "Tractable conflicts are those that are resolvable or permissible or excusable through recusal of the individual concerned and - or - with full disclosure of the interest involved."
All three CAC members - Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman - were served notices by Jain for alleged conflicts of interest, and all three denied the charges in their initial affidavits.
What seems to have angered Tendulkar is Johri's letter (in consultation with CoA) to Jain where - as with Ganguly - the issue has been termed as a case of "tractable Conflict of Interest".
The key areas where Tendulkar has provided strong rebuttals are Points 10, 11 and 12.
"Without prejudice to the aforesaid, the Noticee submits that it is surprising that the BCCI, being the very authority responsible for the Noticee's empanelment to the Cricket Advisory Committee ("CAC"), is presently taking a position that the Noticee is exposed to an alleged conflict of interest," Tendulkar wrote in his reply.
"It is reiterated that, the Noticee was declared as the Mumbai Indians 'ICON' post his retirement in 2013, which was much prior to his appointment to the CAC in 2015."
Like Laxman, Tendulkar stated that neither the BCCI CEO nor the CoA had ever clarified the terms of reference vis-à-vis his appointment in the CAC. "The Noticee (Tendulkar) has time and again sought clarification from the BCCI on the scope of his role in the CAC - but has not received a response from BCCI till date. BCCI is aware that the CAC merely performs an advisory / recommendatory role - and therefore, the Noticee's role as a Mumbai Indians Icon (which in fact has always been in the public domain) cannot, in any practical way, conflict with his involvement in the CAC."
In Point No. 12, Tendulkar wrote: "The Noticee fails to understand how the BCCI (after having appointed him to the CAC) can now maintain its current stand that he is in a position of 'tractable' conflict of interest. The BCCI Response does not clarify this variance in its stance and the Noticee requests the Hon'ble Ethics Officer to call upon BCCI Officials, Mr. Rahul Johri and Mr. Vinod Rai to clarify this position."
Tendulkar also pointed out how he had recused himself from the recruitment process of the national Under-19 selection committee as his son Arjun was a contender in the team.
"It is critical to note that the Noticee had specifically written to the BCCI in respect of the potential conflict of interest that could have arisen in the aforesaid scenario," he wrote.
"The Noticee has served the Indian cricket team for more than 2 decades and accepted empanelment with the CAC to help and contribute towards the growth of Indian cricket. It is unfortunate that the Noticee has to clarify the questions raised in the Complaint and BCCI Response.
"The Noticee repeats that BCCI is responsible for the situation created in terms of the Noticee's honorary empanelment to the CAC even though he was a Mumbai Indians Icon at the relevant time. The BCCI shall be called upon to clarify the issue."