MUMBAI: The Supreme Court of India has said there is, on first impression, a charge of perjury that can be laid against BCCI president Anurag Thakur and the board’s general manager of game development Ratnakar Shetty for lying under oath.
The court also reserved its order on the Lodha Committee’s suggestion to remove ineligible BCCI office bearers and appoint former civil servant GK Pillai as an observer to oversee business operations of the board. After the BCCI rejected Pillai during Thursday’s hearing, the court asked the board to submit, by December 23, the names of three people who could replace the existing office bearers and govern the BCCI.
The court suggested former India allrounder Mohinder Amarnath as one of the names. It is expected to hear the matter again after the winter vacation, which ends on January 2.
The issue of perjury arose because Thakur, in an affidavit, had denied that he sought a letter from the ICC stating that the Lodha Committee’s recommendation to have a member of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office on the apex council of the BCCI amounted to government interference in the board. Thakur’s request had been revealed by ICC chief executive David Richardson in an interview to an Indian TV channel.
Thakur had said he only asked ICC chairman Shashank Manohar what his stance on the matter had been when he was the BCCI president. “I pointed out to the Chairman of the ICC, Mr Shashank Manohar that, when he was President of BCCI, he had taken a view that the recommendations of the Justice Lodha committee appointing the nominee of the CAG on the Apex Council would amount to governmental interference, and might invoke an action of suspension from ICC,” Thakur had said in his affidavit. “I therefore requested him that, being the ICC Chairman, can a letter be issued clarifying the position which he had taken as BCCI President.”
Shetty, in an affidavit on October 7, had denied that Thakur had sought ICC intervention at all. Observing there was a “variance’ between Thakur and Shetty’s submissions, the court said: “Mr Shetty in his response to the status report claims that the CEO of ICC had ‘falsely’ stated in his interview that the President of BCCI had requested ICC to issue a letter stating that the intervention of this Court amounted to governmental interference. The version of Mr Shetty is at variance to what is alleged to have been stated by the CEO of ICC.”
On Thursday, the court said there appeared to be evidence against Thakur and Shetty of lying under oath and asked the BCCI to submit relevant documents to avoid perjury. “Prima facie it seems that Anurag Thakur has perjured and lied under oath because of the letter to Manohar. It is a case of prosecution,” Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said during the hearing. “You had no occasion to approach Manohar. Where was the occasion to raise the issue once we had pronounced on this. This amounts to perjury.”
The court asked Kapil Sibal, the lawyer representing the BCCI president, to “apologise” if Thakur wanted to “escape” an adverse order against him. Agencies
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