India’s Supreme Court Monday appointed a top anti-corruption troubleshooter as the head of a new team to run the powerful cricket board, weeks after sacking its top officials for a delay in implementing reforms.
Former government auditor Vinod Rai, who exposed large-scale corruption scandals under the previous Congress-led government, will head the new administration at the helm of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
He will be joined by the prominent historian Ramachandra Guha, banker Vikram Limaye and former cricketer Diana Edulji. It was not immediately clear how long the four would be in place or their exact titles.
The court dismissed BCCI president Anurag Thakur and his deputy from their positions on January 2 over their failure to implement a series of reforms recommended by a panel headed by former judge Rajendra Mal Lodha.
The Supreme Court has chosen from a mix of backgrounds to manage the BCCI’s workings:
Vinod Rai: Rai is a former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and currently heads the UN Panel of External Auditors. He also acts as advisor to the Railways. The primary reason for his selection could be his reputation for not tolerating corruption and his record of taking on the government over multiple scams, including the 2G and Commonwealth Games scandal.
Diana Edulji: Considered India’s greatest female cricketer, Edulji represents the sport like no other. She has taken the most number of wickets in women’s cricket (120) and was made skipper of the Indian side in 1978.
In an interview to CNN-News18, Edulji welcomed the challenge and responsibility: “It is an honour for me and also a huge responsibility on my shoulder, being the only woman cricketer (in the panel). It is going to be a very big challenge in terms of administration work to be done, as the most important thing will be to give a facelift to BCCI’s reputation which has taken a massive hit.”
The Supreme Court wanted to make a historic judgment to bring accountability to the BCCI.So they’ve got in a historian and an accountant.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) January 30, 2017
Ramchandra Guha: Guha is a historian and has written extensively on topics ranging from politics and environment to cricket as well. Apart from having taught in various top universities, Guha’s passion and interest in cricket probably got him the nod when the Supreme Court was choosing the panel.
Vikram Limaye: Apart from Rai, Limaye is the second person in the panel who will be vital in crunching the BCCI’s finances. Limaye is managing director and CEO of IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Company) and has worked with groups like Arthur Anderson, Ernst & Young and Citibank, and has worked on Wall Street for 8 years.
The court then asked two lawyers, known as amicus curie (friends of the court), to suggest nine names to run the board after ruling that government employees, ministers and anyone aged over 70 cannot be part of the organisation.
Charges of corruption and nepotism have dented the image of the board in recent years. Cricket lovers have demanded that the courts intervene in the running of the privately-run organisation.
The board has been embroiled in a series of scandals, including accusations of corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and a betting scandal involving an IPL team linked to its former head Narayanaswami Srinivasan.
Cricket’s massive popularity in India has helped the board become by far the wealthiest of all of the sport’s national boards.