Did BCCI advice land Rahul Dravid in conflict-of-interest mess?

Indian Express

Indian Express

Author 2019-09-26 10:51:01

Indian Express 26 Sep 2019 08:21 AM

NCA head coach says he was told by the board that a ‘leave of absence’ letter from India Cements would free him of conflict of interest

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A day before he is set to depose before BCCI’s ethics officer, Rahul Dravid said he had followed the BCCI’s suggestion to handle the conflict-of-interest matter before taking up the job as Head Coach at the National Cricket Academy.

Dravid said he was told by BCCI that a ‘leave of absence’ letter from India Cements, where he has been a vice-president for a decade, was enough to take up the new job at NCA and that it would free him of conflict of interest, and the former cricketer did likewise.

“It is leave of absence which is what I have been asked to do at that stage. I will appear with my lawyer and represent my own case,” Dravid told The Indian Express when asked how he had dealt with the conflict-of-issue problem. He will depose before DK Jain, the BCCI ethics officer, in Mumbai on Thursday to explain the charges made by Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta.

“Just mere ‘leave without pay’ from India Cements will not save him from the clutches of Rule 38(4),” Gupta wrote in his complaint to the ethics officer.

Gupta had raised the issue as Dravid had been a vice-president with India Cements for more than a decade when he took up the NCA role. Gupta reckoned that it was a violation of BCCI rules which state that an individual can’t hold two posts while being an employee of the cricket board and since India Cements owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, Gupta believed Dravid couldn’t take up the NCA job.

CoA on CoI

The court-appointed Committee of Administrators came to Dravid’s defence and argued that the legendary batsman doesn’t fall under the conflict-of-interest rule. In a recent Idea Exchange conducted by this newspaper, CoA chief Vinod Rai was asked about conflict of interest and several complaints against cricketers in this regard. In particular about how Sourav Ganguly is the president of Cricket Association of Bengal and also a commentator, and Dravid employed with India Cements.

“In his report, Justice Lodha has given about 20 examples of conflict of interest. So the issues are very clear. We abide by them a 100 per cent. Since you took certain names. Sourav Ganguly is in conflict since he is president of the Cricket Association of Bengal. No dispute about it. Rahul Dravid was (in breach) because he was employed by India Cements. He has been made to stop that. You can check up. There is a resignation.”

But on Wednesday, Rai said, “He (Dravid) has submitted leave of absence. I did not say he has sent resignation. I gave two examples of two senior appointees.”

The BCCI had in June asked Dravid to take up a bigger role at the NCA and work closely with the National Men’s and Women’s Head Coaches and coaches of India Developmental teams – including India A, India Under-19, and Under-23.

In a letter issued by Indian Cements to Dravid and accessed by this paper, the company has granted leave of absence to him. Dravid had written to India Cements on July 2 asking for a No-Objection Certificate.

“By means of this letter, we state and confirm that we have No Objection to your proposed contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in respect of the position of Head of Cricket at the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore as described in your letter. We hereby grant you leave of absence from your employment during the term and tenure of your engagement with the BCCI, for an initial period of two years. We request you to notify us of any updates or changes in term and tenure of your BCCI contract and the said leave of absence shall be appropriately reviewed,” India Cements Senior General Manager (Human Resources) G Vijayan stated in the letter given to Dravid.

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