Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul may cop more punishment beyond missing Aus ODIs, sources tell mid-day
Hardik Pandya, Karan Johar and KL Rahul
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) probes have often ended up as being labelled as shams. The inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment against board CEO Rahul Johri in November. when he was given a contentious clean chit, was the last one to attract criticism. However, the board has promised a thorough investigation against cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for misogynist and crass comments on a TV show.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) decided to suspend Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul pending inquiry for their conduct on the Koffee with Karan show. The suspension was done at the behest of CoA member Diana Edulji in consultation with the BCCI’s legal cell and BCCI office-bearers. CoA chief Vinod Rai, though, had recommended a mere two-match suspension for the cricketing duo.
Duo sent home
Pandya and Rahul will return from Australia. “They have to return as they are suspended. They are not on a holiday,” a BCCI source told mid-day. The inquiry and proceedings have been initiated under Rule 41 of the BCCI constitution for misconduct and indiscipline. The players were informed about their suspensions via separate emails. However, the interesting part here is that the emails were authorised by the CoA and not CEO Johri. When the showcause notices were first issued to Pandya and Rahul, they were signed by Johri, something that received a lot of flak from the BCCI office-bearers.
The CoA’s communication to Pandya and Rahul read: “In terms of Rule 41(6) of the BCCI Constitution, you are hereby suspended with immediate effect from participating in any manner whatsoever in any match or function or event or activity that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by the BCCI, the ICC or any State Association, until final adjudication of the matter.”
Though the BCCI’s legal cell suggested that the CoA appoint an ad-hoc Ombudsman with the mandate to deal with Pandya and Rahul’s issue, mid-day has learnt that the inquiry committee may consist of the CoA and the BCCI office-bearers. “There is no such ad-hoc Ombudsman,” the source said. The source indicated that the inquiry is likely to be wrapped up in two weeks approximately. “It will be done swiftly. The BCCI does not want the concerned players to miss out on the action for unnecessary delays in proceedings. It should take around two weeks,” the source said.
No clarity over NZ tour
However, there is no clarity on whether Pandya and Rahul would be eligible for the New Zealand tour consisting five ODIs starting January 23 and three T20Is from February 6. “Though the inquiry may end soon, the quantum of punishment will be decided only thereafter. Missing out on the Australia ODIs is due to suspension. It cannot be counted as a punishment,” the source clarified.
It is learnt that the inquiry committee will deeply investigate all angles. “They will be asking for unedited footage of the TV show. They will also look into who
granted the permission to appear on the show. Was there pressure from any quarter to be on the show? A lot of skeletons will emerge now once the proceedings starts,” the source said.