BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhary is expected to represent the board at the ICC’s chief executives’ meeting to be held in Singapore this week, a task that would normally have fallen to its CEO Rahul Johri. The decision follows #MeToo allegations, made public on Friday, around Johri’s conduct with a fellow professional in his previous job.
The BCCI’s first response to the anonymous allegations of Johri’s alleged conduct against a woman ex-colleague in the television industry, before he joined the BCCI, had been to seek an “explanation” from Johri within a week. There was no word on whether the allegations would affect Johri’s daily operations inside the BCCI or indeed his presence as the Indian board’s representative at the Singapore meeting on October 17 and 18. It is believed that protests from within the board, the two-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), as well as reservations expressed at the highest level of the ICC went ahead to ensure that Johri would not be be a part of the CEOs meeting in Singapore. The possibility of Johri turning up at the meeting in Singapore had made the situation “very uncomfortable”, according to a cricket official.
The allegations against Johri, made anonymously through Twitter, are part of a vitally transformed global environment around issues of sexual harassment, abuse and crimes against women. The BCCI’s own internal complaints committee against workplace harassment has only been in place since April 2018. The committee is headed by BCCI lawyer Karina Kripalani, GM Operations Saba Karim, Rupawati Rao, who works in BCCI accounts, and external member Mumbai-based women’s rights lawyer Veena Gowda.
This is the third time within 18 months that the BCCI, and through them the CoA, have been faced with complaints, accusations and allegations of sexual harassment around its senior executives. Johri’s name has featured in them, but it is not yet certain if two complaints were indeed the same one, only with more details. Given the nature of the allegations against the CEO of the most high-profile and richest sporting body in India and the richest board in world cricket, the complaints committee could be dealing with their biggest and most scrutinised case yet.