Rahul Dravid’s ‘Leave Without Pay’ Not Enough to Resolve Conflict: BCCI Ethics Officer
Unfazed by the controversy over the notice he has issued to Rahul Dravid over a potential conflict of interest in his appointment as Head of Cricket of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, BCCI Ethics Officer Justice (Retd.) DK Jain has insisted that he is simply following the rules as laid out by the newly implemented BCCI constitution.
Jain issued the notice upon receiving a complaint from Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta that since Dravid is employed as a vice-president by India Cements, the company that owns IPL team Chennai Super Kings, he attracts provisions of the conflict of interest rules in his role at the NCA.
As a means to overcome the situation, the Supreme Court-appointment Committee of Administrators (CoA) suggested that Dravid procure a ‘leave of absence’ from India Cements that the former India captain provided. However, Jain says that as per the rules, merely being on leave without pay from a job doesn’t clear an individual from a conflict of interest. Dravid has two weeks to reply to the notice.
“I had received the complaint about Dravid and it had merit that’s why I have sent a notice to him and I’ll wait for his reply,” Jain told CricketNext. “Taking leave from a job doesn’t mean you don’t hold a post. The rules of conflict are clearly marked out in the BCCI Constitution. I am just following that.”
The ‘Conflict of Interest’ clause as well as ‘One Person, One Post’ ruling was added to the new BCCI Constitution which came into effect in August 2018. Rule 38 (4) of the BCCI constitution prevents individuals from holding more than one of 16 posts. These are:
The notice came in from severe criticism from another former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who took to Twitter to call it a “new fashion in Indian cricket”. His former India colleague Harbhajan Singh was even more scathing, saying it was an “insult” to send such notices to legends like Dravid.
Jain has in fact passed an order against Ganguly too as he holds three positions as IPL franchise Delhi Capitals team advisor, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president as well as a TV commentator and against VVS Laxman, who is a mentor with Sunrisers Hyderabad besides being a TV commentator. Both those orders are yet to be implemented.
A source close to the CoA told CricketNext that while they believed a leave without pay declaration should have sufficed, Dravid will need to provide a satisfactory answer to Jain’s notice if he is to continue in his role at NCA. The laxity in implementing Jain’s earlier orders about Ganguly and Laxman hasn’t gone down too well too. In its meeting on June 29 in New Delhi, it was decided that the CoA should request for ‘more time to comply with Ethics Officer’s orders’.
“The CoA is just enforcing the new BCCI Constitution. If the former cricketers have problems with the Constitution, why don’t they go to the Supreme Court and get it changed. Everyone wanted Lodha reforms to be incorporated into BCCI Constitution and ‘One Person, One Post’ is part of that,” the source said.
“Some members of CoA are making mockery of Ethics Officer and his judgements. The Ethics Officer was appointed by the Supreme Court to decide on matters of conflict, what other legal clarity do they need on this matter? They can take this matter to the court but won’t it be an insult to Justice Jain, who himself is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court?”
“The Ethics Officer’s role should not end at passing the order. He should be putting pressure on BCCI and CoA demanding action on these judgements. It’s really disappointing that former cricketers like Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh are questioning SC-appointed Ethics Officer,” the source added.
Jain though says his role ends with passing the order.
“My job was to investigate the charges of conflict in these case and judge according to the letter of the law. I have done that to the best of my ability. It is now up to the BCCI and CoA to implement the decisions as soon as possible,” he said.
Apart from the notice to Dravid, Jain is also looking at the appointment of senior women’s coach WV Raman and the composition of three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) to pick the head coach of men’s team.
“I have received the complaint about WV Raman’s appointment. I am going through the details of the same and will check if the right process was followed and serve notice if required,” Jain said.
It is believed that Jain has also cognizance of potential conflict of CAC members and former India cricketers Kapil Dev and Anshuman Gaekwad. The CoA is due to meet in Mumbai on August 12 or 13 and will clearly have to walk a tightrope on the issue.