The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Thursday formed an independent panel to probe allegations of sexual harassment against under-fire BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, a statement said. An independent three-member panel chaired by Rakesh Sharma, a former judge of the Allahabad High Court, and also including P.C. Sharma, a former Central Bureau of Investigation director, and Barkha Singh, a former chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, will look into the matter. The BCCI will make available to them all official documentation pertaining to allegations of harassment against Johri, the statement added.
"The independent committee is being requested to submit its report containing its findings and recommendations within 15 days. Johri will continue to remain on leave until the committee submits its report and the same is acted upon," the statement read. Johri submitted his explanation on October 20 and has denied the allegations. The two-member CoA comprising Vinod Rai, the former comptroller and auditor general of India, and Diana Edulji, the former India women captain, along with a senior lawyer of the BCCI's legal team met on October 20 and 22 to decide on the next step, according to the statement. The CoA members disagreed on what course to follow with Edulji suggesting that Johri should either resign or his contract be terminated.
Rai did not agree, and felt an independent inquiry was required since the allegations were anonymous, and dealt with a period before Johri joined the BCCI. The release quoting him said he felt it was "necessary to provide natural justice to the CEO by following a due process of law." The Chairman was very clear that in similar instances, the person against whom allegations had been made, were permitted to represent their case before an independent committee which would then take a considered view after weighing all evidence, it added. "Ms Edulji was of the view that considering the details and nature of the allegation, there were sufficient grounds for his removal.
"She informed the Chairman she would approach amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium for further guidance, if no action is taken and the CEO is allowed to continue." Johri has not attended last week's ICC chief executives' committee meeting in Singapore and has been on leave since the allegations surfaced on social media. "The CoA must be seen to provide him (Johri] natural justice which means he should be allowed to present his case in front of the independent committee," Rai said. "A due process of law has to be undergeone. We had to take a transparent, independent view."
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