New Delhi: The BCCI treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry has questioned COA member Diana Edulji benefitting from a one-time ex-gratia payment given to women international cricketers, implying conflict of interest in the allocation.
Incidentally, Diana Edulji's sister Behroze, who played one 'Test' match for India in the mid 70s has also been a beneficiary of the BCCI largesse, a policy decision that was taken once COA took over board administration.
The matter was being talked about in hushed tones in the BCCI circle but has now come out in the open after treasurer Chaudhry's letter.
Chaudhry, who has been perceived as anti-COA and anti-CEO (Rahul Johri), has raised objections categorically in a comprehensive letter, which is in possession of PTI.
Chaudhry's letter makes it clear that he had signed BCCI's statement of accounts on protest as the powers of treasury has been allegedly taken away from him. He has not been provided with the full details of various transactions made by the board.
He has questioned the manner in which the One-Time Benefit payment was made without ratification from the Special General Body (SGM) and an alleged case of Conflict of Interest as Edulji and her direct relative (own sister) were beneficiary to a policy decision taken by a body of which she is herself a part.
Treasurer Chaudhry in his letter wrote: "It would be imperative to disclose as a subsequent event that the COA had decided to give One Time Benefit to women players and Ms Diana Edulji, who is a member of the COA, and her sister were a beneficiary of that decision."
He further wrote: "It would be pertinent to mention here that the presentation of the 'Display Cardboard Cheques' had already been done in full public view in course of the broadcast of IPL games before the SGM had ratified the same in a given circumstances of which the factum presentation in full public view was a part."
In Edulji's defence, it needs to be mentioned that she had recused herself at the time (she left the meeting room) when the policy decision was being taken. The matter was minuted.
It has not cut much ice with the senior BCCI officials, who have repeatedly felt short-changed by the COA.
"Even if we accept logic that she recused herself from the meeting, will anyone believe that she was not privy to this policy decision that would have directly benefited her and her sister?" questioned a senior office-bearer.
"Also let us accept that conflict of interest in BCCI is more about perception. If Edulji is allowed to continue as a COA member, then why was Roger Binny forced to quit the national selection panel when his son Stuart used to be in contention for a place in the India team?
"Everyone in BCCI knew that Roger would leave the room when Stuart's name would come up, even then he was not allowed to complete his tenure as per Lodha Committee recommendation. Here a policy maker is a beneficiary and Aniruddh is absolutely spot on to have raised a pertinent question," the official further stated.
Repeated text messages to Edulji went unanswered.
In a separate issue, treasurer Chaudhry has also raised questions as to how CFO Santosh Rangnekar allegedly took sporting memorabilia related to IPL for distribution among government officials.
The treasurer writes: "I had been informed verbally by someone in the BCCI office around October 2016 that some of the sporting memorabilia, mostly relating to the IPL, that was stored on the first floor of the BCCI office in Mumbai, had been taken away by the CFO. Not believing this I had got it verified from Mr Anil Joshi who looks after the administration in the BCCI office."
The treasurer also placed Joshi's letter which clearly states about stuff being given to the CFO for further distribution to general staff and Commissionerate office of Income Tax (assessment, appeal, re-assessment and ITAT circle -Air India building)/ Service Tax - assessment and audit staff - Air India Building/VAT assessment staff at Mazgao, Mumbai etc. It includes 63 shirt/T shirt, 4 old bats, 4 IPL bags."
In his letter, Chaudhry has also asked how despite being a senior office-bearer, he was not kept in the loop about India discard Yusuf Pathan's failed dope test till January 9 when it had come to light in October, itself.