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The Committee of Administrators (CoA) in its fifth status report filed with the Supreme Court of India has revealed that the board had spent approximately INR 4.6 crore on the allowances given to its office-bearers over a two-year period from April 2015 to June 2017.
This was despite them holding honorary (unsalaried) posts as over 40% of the total allowances (INR 1.87 crore) were spent on just four of these office-bearers -- CK Khanna (the acting president), Amitabh Choudhary (acting secretary), Anirudh Chaudhry (treasurer), and the former president of the board, Anurag Thakur.
Chaudhary and Choudhury, the two biggest recipients of these allowances, were paid INR 92,72,519 and 71,79,068, respectively. Thakur was paid INR 17,99,982 during his tenure as the secretary of the board.
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The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Panel had recommended a slew of changes to the administrative structure of the BCCI, which was later ratified by the Court on July 18, 2016, and was known as 'Lodha reforms.'
Initially, the BCCI was given six months to implement the reforms in their entirety but more than a year hence, the board is yet to put in practice a majority of the reforms and has been roadblocking the changes through several review petitions in the Court.
Frustrated at the BCCI's impotence, the Supreme Court sacked Thakur and the then secretary of the board Ajay Shirke on January 2 this year and also served a show-cause notice to Thakur for asking the ICC to intervene and put to halt the 'judicial interference' in the board's matters.
Every office bearer is paid INR 20,000 for each working day and INR 30,000 per day for a board meeting. For an overseas trip, the allowance is pegged at US$ 750. The aforementioned sum did not include other reimbursements such as the INR 3,93,319 claimed by Choudhary as other expenses, INR 13,51,061 as stay charges and INR 43,000 as the phone bill.
In comparison, Chaudhary reported INR 2,37,145 as his phone bill, INR 3, 41,603 as other expenses, INR 11, 03,893 as stay charges, and INR 91,877 as credit card expenses. Thakur had claimed INR 1, 81,172 as credit card expenses and INR 4, 20,463 as stay charges.
It wasn't just the office bearers who received these perks. Their assistants have also received allowances although they have been on the payrolls of the BCCI. The CoA did not explicitly object to these allowances and reimbursements but raised questions over the board's inability to implement the reforms related to the board's professional management.
According to the Lodha recommendations, the day-to-day functions of the board were to be overseen by the CEO Rahul Johri whereas policy-making was the burden of the nine-member Apex Council, which includes three elected office bearers.
The panel had asked for a clear demarcation of roles of the CEO and the Apex Council on the lines of the widely-observed practices in other cricket bodies such as the ICC, the ECB, and CA.
Without raising objections to the huge sums being spent on select office bearers, the CoA has brought to the fore the money-business of the BCCI and the extravagant amount being spent on its officials.
All this while, these officials have failed to perform the task they were appointed for in the first place as the BCCI old guard continues to roadblock the implementation of the reforms more than a year after the Supreme Court's original verdict.
To put things in perspective, a Grade A cricketer on the BCCI's list of contract players is paid a sum of INR 2 crore per annum. Whether or not the office bearers -- and that too just four of them -- deserve to be paid approximately as much as, say, the captain of the Indian team, especially when the accountability on their part is unchecked is the question to be asked.