The ICC has refused to get involved in the BCCI's tussle with the Lodha Committee, ICC chief executive David Richardson has indicated.
Richardson told India Today that BCCI president Anurag Thakur had asked the global governing body to address a letter to the Indian board, asking it to clarify whether the reforms of the Lodha Committee - forced on the board by the Supreme Court of India - did not amount to government interference in the board's running. As per ICC regulations, member boards cannot have government interference in their running.
ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, Richardson said, was reluctant to get involved in the matter unless "formally" requested to.
"The BCCI president Mr Thakur did verbally ask the ICC to write a letter to the BCCI asking the BCCI to explain whether the recommendations of Lodha Committee might constitute government interference," Richardson said, according to PTI. "But Mr Manohar said that the ICC should not write such a letter unless the BCCI first writes to the ICC requesting ICC to intervene, or ICC receives a letter from another of its member boards to do so. But no such letters have been received.
"So I understand that Mr Manohar is reluctant to interfere in the domestic affairs of a member country. He will not do so without being formally requested to do so by the member concerned and nor is he prepared to put the ICC in a position where it could be perceived as challenging the authority of the Supreme Court of India.
"Don't forget... the consequences of the government interference could lead to the suspension of a member board and nobody really wants the BCCI to be suspended."
Richardson said Thakur was not happy with the ICC's refusal to write the letter. "There were other board members present when that request was made by Mr Thakur," he said. "As far as I [could] see, Mr Thakur actually criticised the ICC for not sending the letter."
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke responded to Richardson saying: "First of all, any verbal discussion is not a request. Informal discussions take place on so many issues."
Shirke added that it had been Manohar's call, when he was still the BCCI president and the board had submitted its affidavit to the Supreme Court after the Lodha recommendations, to highlight the threat of suspension.
"When these affidavits were made, it was Shashank who approved them as BCCI president and lawyer. He was the one who said, 'we should include this point'," Shirke told the Times of India. "He was already heading the ICC and was holding both portfolios at that time. Now, either he has conveniently forgotten about this or this Richardson has been tutored to say what he's saying,"
Earlier, Thakur said at a press conference that the ICC had stepped in when there were administrative issues with other member boards, but it was ignoring what was happening with the BCCI. "Here there is an outside interference," Thakur said. "ICC takes a decision on Nepal, Sri Lanka on the basis of outside interference, [but] they are keeping mum here when BCCI is concerned."
In July, India's Supreme Court accepted a majority of the recommendations put forward by the Lodha Committee covering wide-ranging aspects of Indian cricket at the central and state level, and gave the BCCI a maximum of six months to implement the reforms. The Lodha Committee, comprising former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and retired Supreme Court judges, Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran was formed by the court in January 2015 to determine appropriate punishments for the franchises involved in the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, and propose changes to the BCCI's functioning.
Last week, Thakur had said the "ICC regime" was trying to "sideline the BCCI, one of the most important stakeholders in global cricket today".
Manohar, meanwhile, had said he was concerned with the interests of the ICC and world cricket, not the BCCI. Manohar had seemed to take a similar tone when, soon after taking charge of the ICC in November 2015, he said he wanted to stop the "bullying" caused by the constitutional revamp of 2014 - the "Big Three" episode, which left the BCCI, the ECB and Cricket Australia better off than other member boards financially and in terms of administrative powers.