The Supreme Court on Monday removed Anurag Thakur from the post of president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Thakur faced perjury charges after amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam had said that he had lied under oath when he denied seeking a letter from the International Cricket Council. The top court also removed Ajay Shirke from the position of BCCI secretary.
Thakur was accused of perjury during a hearing on December 15 over the ongoing battle between the BCCI and the Justice Lodha Committee. On December 21, however, he had denied having lied under oath in the Supreme Court, saying there was “no question of perjury”.
“The two officials did not comply with the court’s July 18, 2016, order and have thereby been removed,” the top court said. “The BCCI and state board officials have failed to implement orders to bring transparency and accountability to the cricketing body,” the court observed in its ruling.
The Supreme Court has appointed senior advocate FS Nariman and Gopal Subramaniam as amicus curiae, directing them to recommend names to govern the BCCI. The senior-most vice president will serve as the acting president, whereas the joint secretary will act as the secretary, PTI reported. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for January 19.
Responding to the verdict, Justice Lodha said, “Once the committee-recommended reforms were accepted, they should have been implemented. This is the logical consequence.” He added that other sports organisations should pay heed to the Supreme court order as a template. “It’s a victory for the game of cricket. Administrators come and go, but this is for the benefit of the game.”
Thakur responded, saying that the BCCI was the “best managed sports organisation” in India, but “if Supreme Court feels BCCI would do better under retired judges, then I wish them all the best, I am sure they will do well”.
ICC official Dave Richardson had alleged that Thakur wanted a letter signed from the council stating that the appointments sought by the Lodha panel would breach the board’s autonomy and amount to government interference. In his affidavit, Thakur had denied allegations that he had asked the ICC for a letter against the Lodha panel’s recommendations.
On November 21, the Justice Lodha Committee had sought the Supreme Court’s approval to appoint former Union home secretary GK Pillai as an observer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India and dismiss a few of the body’s top officials.
The Lodha committee was formed after the spot-fixing and betting scandal emerged during the 2013 leg of the Indian Premier League. On October 6, the apex court had directed the BCCI to either implement the Lodha recommendations or face consequences. However, on October 15, the BCCI had decided to oppose some of the “impractical” reforms suggested by the committee. The two sides have been at loggerheads over a few recommendations such as the one vote per state and one person per post rule, the age cap for office-bearers and the cooling-off period between tournaments.