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Johri found not guilty, back as BCCI’s CEO

Posted in Sports

Published on November 23, 2018 with No Comments

At least three women had made allegations against Johri, during his time with Discovery Channel and with BCCI. The first allegations were made on Twitter by an anonymous complainant. Then another complainant emerged, alleging that Johri had asked her for sexual favours. This complainant was a friend of Hattangadi. Another woman, working with BCCI, had also reportedly complained against him.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief executive officer Rahul Johri has been found not guilty of sexual harassment by a three-member inquiry committee, and he resumed office.  However, the three-member inquiry committee did have a note of dissent — Justice Rakesh Sharma (Retd) and Barkha Singh (ex-head of Delhi Commission for Women) termed the allegations “false, baseless”, “motivated and fabricated”. Both recommended that Johri continue in his position.

The third member, women’s rights lawyer Veena Gowda, also found him not guilty of sexual harassment. However, referring to the charges against Johri relating to an incident in Birmingham, Gowda called his conduct “unprofessional and inappropriate, which would adversely affect its (BCCI’s) reputation”. She noted: “In view of his conduct at Birmingham as well as keeping in mind the allegations made by Ms. X and his conduct before this Committee with respect to the photographs submitted, it is essential that Mr. Johri undergo some form of gender sensitivity counselling/training.”

The two-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) too saw the verdict differently. CoA chairman Vinod Rai gave him a clean chit. He cited the recommendations of Justice Sharma and Barkha Singh, and noted that Gowda too did not find him guilty of sexual harassment. Diana Edulji said Johri was not fit to be BCCI’s CEO because Gowda had recommended that he should undergo gender sensitisation. However, CoA chairman Rai overruled her.

Former Mumbai cricketer Shishir Hattangadi, who deposed on behalf of one complainant, was “shocked” at the verdict. “It is obviously a divided house (at inquiry committee). It is two people saying all things bright and beautiful and the third person saying he needs therapy and that his behaviour was unbecoming of a CEO,” he told The Tribune.

“I only deposed on behalf of somebody I believed in, but this actually is an insult to all the ladies who deposed, calling it (allegations) mischievous,” he added. “If they (Justice Sharma and Singh) are calling it mischievous, then the third person (Gowda) must also have an opinion which is very close to it, if not the same. But her opinion is complete antithesis of what they are saying.”

BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, who also deposed in the case, said Johri’s position was untenable. “This is clearly not a clean chit as is being propagated by a section of officials,” he said. “This cannot be willed away by someone just because one may be in a position of authority. We cannot lose sight of the fact that one member of CoA — i.e. 50% of CoA — believes this to be serious enough to make the position of the CEO untenable .”

 

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