Former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi has criticised the findings of the three-member panel set up by the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment against CEO Rahul Johri, after it cleared him of the charges.
Hattangadi was one of the people who deposed in front of the panel after alleging that his friend had been harassed by Johri.
The panel, headed by Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma, ruled, “The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or elsewhere are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr Rahul Johri....”
Hattangadi took to Twitter to voice his disappointment with the ruling.
He also told The Indian Express that the panel’s findings were akin to “victim shaming”.
Responding to the ruling, the 57-year-old was quoted as saying, “By saying that it’s malafide, destructive, malicious, they are insulting the people who have come forward...If some people have come forward and deposed, respect their deposition. It is victim shaming.”
Hattangadi also feels there is “something amiss” despite the findings of the panel since it was not a unanimous verdict. While two members of the panel – Sharma and Barkha Singh – dismissed the allegations completely, the third member, Veena Gowda, questioned Johri’s conduct and advised him to undergo “gender-sensitivity counselling”, according to the report.
Hattangadi said, “There are questions needed to be asked. And for this I don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to realise that there is something amiss...If one person is saying you need help, you need counselling and you behaved not unbecoming of a CEO and two people have given a contrary opinion, it talks about the dichotomy of a probe and that is, for me, questioning [the] wisdom of people.”
He added, “If two people are saying he is a pope and needs to stay at the Vatican and one person is saying he needs to go to the counsellor, you judge yourself. They are not only on different pages but they are in different books and that, to me, is unnerving.”
The two-member CoA was also divided on the matter. While chairman Vinod Rai approved of Johri resuming his post at the BCCI, Diana Edulji demanded his resignation.
“I resumed office today and all my colleagues have been warm and welcoming,” Johri was quoted as saying by PTI on Wednesday. “It has been a tough one and half months for me and my family. I wish no one has to go through what I have gone through.”