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BCCI running like ‘mutually beneficial society,’ says SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the cash-rich BCCI, saying the cricket body was running like a “mutually beneficial society” and “practically corrupting” its members by not seeking any explanation on how crores of rupees allotted to them were being spent.

While scrutinising the fund allocation and expenses of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the apex court also pulled it up for not giving funds to neglected states for promotion of cricket and said it has done nothing to encourage the game.

It was also critical of the discrimination meted out to different states by BCCI and said the states begged for money from the board which follows a “no questions asked” policy as a method to buy votes in a certain manner.

Lauding the work done by Justice RM Lodha-led committee for bringing out massive structural change in functioning of BCCI, the bench said “this is not an ordinary panel. It is a committee on which we have complete faith. It is committee of judges and its findings have to be relied upon. We cannot say that the findings are perverse.”

“They have come after consultations with the experts and a wide spectrum of people and the recommendations have been given by a former CJI who have experience and they have arrived at some conclusions,” a bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and FMI Khalifulla said.

BCCI had moved the apex court submitting that it had accepted some of the recommendations of Lodha panel while there were difficulties in implementing others as these would have wide-ranging affect on the functioning of the board.

While analysing the table of fund allocation and expenditure provided by BCCI for the last five years, the bench said “out of 29 states, 11 were going without a single penny and zero funds. You have given them nothing. This doesn’t reflect a good future.” 

“The impression we get from the Lodha Committee is that you are releasing huge amounts to some states and you leave it to the states on the ways to spend. You are practically corrupting the person by not demanding explanation in spending of huge money,” the bench said, adding that “you (BCCI) are running a mutually beneficial society”. During the hearing, the court wanted to know whether any cases of misappropriation and FIR had been lodged by the BCCI.

At present, there is complete lack of transparency in fund allocation to the states, it said. “You function like show me the face, I will make the payment,” the bench said, adding that there should be some justice in providing funds. The bench, after perusing the affidavit filed by BCCI detailing the records of payments made to states including Gujarat, Goa and Tripura, said the amount was several fold higher than 11 other states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh, which go around with a “begging bowl”.

Venugopal said that Bihar was an associate member and had refused to submit their audited account statement. Funds are released by the board to members depending on their cricketing activity.

The bench then asked why Railway Sports Promotion Board, a full member, does not get anything. To this, the BCCI said the Railway Sports Promotion Board does not have an international stadium. The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on April 8.

Earlier, after BCCI and several cricket associations resisted implementation of Lodha panel recomendations, the court on February 4 had given a stern message to BCCI asking it to “fall in line” with the recommendations of committee.

It had on March 3, pulled up the BCCI for its reluctance to comply with the recommendations of the Lodha panel, including the one to keep ministers away from cricket administration, observing that politicians wanted to hold such posts for “power and clout”.
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