#MeToo Case Against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri Dismissed by Probe Panel

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has been cleared of sexual harassment allegations.

Updated21 Nov 2018, 02:36 PM IST
3 min read

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has been cleared of sexual harassment allegations by the Committee of Administrators' three-member probe panel, which dismissed the charges levelled against him as "mischievous and fabricated".

Johri was on forced leave for the past three weeks but can now resume office even though one member of the probe committee recommended "gender sensitivity counselling" for him.

"Since there is no consensus between the two members of the Committee of Administrators regarding what action should be taken against Mr. Rahul Johri, the Chairman (Vinod Rai) stated that the natural consequence would be that Mr. Johri continues as the CEO of BCCI and is entitled resume office," ESPNCricinfo said quoting a CoA release.

The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or else where are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Mr. Rahul Johri
Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma, Head of the Probe Panel

The three-member probe panel comprised former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh and lawyer-activist Veena Gowda and was headed by Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma.

Gowda recommended counselling for Johri owing to his "inappropriate behaviour" with one of the complainants during the Champions Trophy in Birmingham. She, however, maintained there was no case of sexual harassment against Johri.

The committee, which was formed on October 25, was given 15 days to complete the probe by the CoA. Its report will also be submitted to the Supreme Court.

CoA Members Disputed Clean Chit?

The two-member CoA was divided on the issue. While Chairman Vinod Rai approved of Johri joining back after reading the probe panel’s findings, Diana Edulji demanded Johri’s resignation on the basis of some of the recommendations, that included counselling.

CoA member Diana Edulji didn't want the report to be published on Wednesday and demanded that she be given at least a few days to study it. However, CoA chief Vinod Rai opened the report in the presence of the panel members as well as BCCI's legal team during the day.

Edulji was against the formation of the panel and wanted Johri to be sacked on the basis of the allegations while Rai felt that "principles of natural justice" demanded an investigation before any action.

Following the report, Rai said that Johri could be permitted to resume his job but Edulji said since it was a “split verdict” of 2:1 the CEO should resign having "tarnished the reputation of the organisation".

Edulji, in fact, made it clear that her stand remains the same as what it was when the allegations first emerged.

Edulji said that the fact that Gowda has recommended that Johri should undergo gender sensitization counselling/ training is sufficient for her to arrive at the conclusion that he is not fit to be the CEO of BCCI.
CoA Documentation

The Case Against Johri

The first allegations against Johri was an anonymous e-mail accusing him of sexual misconduct, shared by a twitter handle, which later deleted the post. The accuser claimed to be an ex-colleague of Johri at a previous job.

There were subsequently two more allegations, one from a Singapore-based media professional and another woman, who worked with Johri in one of his previous organisations.

Both women deposed via Skype, along with BCCI's former Anti-Corruption Unit chief Neeraj Kumar, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, IPL petitioner Aditya Verma, and former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi.

There were also allegations against Johri about inappropriate behaviour with a female employee of the BCCI. However, the employee in question didn't turn up for deposition as was widely speculated.

Johri was the last person to depose and his statement was taken over two days.

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Published: 21 Nov 2018, 11:45 AM IST

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