Former BCCI President Anurag Thakur, who is facing contempt notice for filing a false affidavit in the Supreme Court, tendered “unconditional and unqualified apology” on Monday.
Thakur, who was present in the court, said he had never intended to file any false information before the apex court and filed an affidavit explaining the circumstances under which led to the initiation of contempt proceedings.
“I (Thakur) have tendered my unconditional and unqualified apology and I have explained the circumstances. I had not intended to file any false information,” senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for Thakur, told the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, fixed the matter for hearing on April 17 and also exempted Thakur from personal appearance on that day.
The apex court had on January 2 come down heavily on the defiant BCCI brass and removed Thakur and Ajay Shirke as the President and Secretary for “obstructing” and “impeding” its directions for overhauling governance in the cricket body.
The bench had slapped Thakur with contempt and perjury notices for filing a false affidavit over writing to the ICC on the issue of autonomy.
During the hearing today, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for BCCI, said they should be allowed to hold a meeting with the state associations to deliberate upon the issues which would come up in the upcoming ICC meeting.
He said if these issues are not discussed at the meeting, the government and BCCI would lose a huge amount of money, as it pertained to revenue.
However, senior counsel Parag Tripathi, representing the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators, opposed the plea and said such a meeting can be allowed only when the state associations gave an undertaking in accordance with the court’s direction that they would comply with the recommendations of Justice R M Lodha panel.
To this, the bench said, “Let us get the facts clear. We have nothing to do with the ICC. We are also concerned that India, as a country, should get the best deal, it should get the money.”
“Supposing there is a loss, a big loss of money, that has to be taken care of. The issue is how it should be taken care of in the best possible manner,” the apex court said.
When the bench said that ICC is a multi-layered body and BCCI is one of its members, Sibal said “but revenue comes from BCCI. 90 per cent revenue comes from the BCCI only.”
The bench, however, clarified that it was not going into the fiscal aspect of ICC and BCCI.
Sibal argued that a regular member of ICC gets 75 per cent of the revenue while an associate member gets 25 per cent revenue and BCCI is likely to get over Rs 3,000 crore from the ICC as revenue.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae in the matter, said the apex court orders made it obligatory for the associations to file the undertaking.
He said that Lodha committee had earlier told the court that nobody was complying with its recommendations and even after the apex court’s order, nothing was being complied with.
When Sibal objected to the submissions, Subramanium said, “I am reading it from the reports”.
Sibal shot back and said, “Report is not a gospel truth. We will not sign a death warrant just because somebody wants us to sign it.”
“Let them (Committee of Administrators) go to the ICC and negotiate with it. But they should give an undertaking in the court that BCCI and the government will not lose money. Let them handle it but no money should be lost,” Sibal said.
The bench said it would hear the arguments on this issue on March 20.
On January 30, the apex court had appointed a four-member committee of administrators headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai to run BCCI’s affairs and implement court-approved recommendations of the Justice R M Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body.
Other three members of the committee of administrators include historian Ramachandra Guha, Vikram Limaye, IDFC Managing Director, and former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji.