BCCI to cancel India-New Zealand Test series as Lodha Committee freezes its accounts
Disgruntled by the Justice R M Lodha Committee's decision to freeze its accounts, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to cancel the ongoing New Zealand series, which has a Test and five ODIs remaining.
This comes in the wake of India shooting to the number one spot. The third Test between India and New Zealand, scheduled to be played in Indore from October 8-12, has now been cancelled in reaction to the Lodha Committee's decision.
The Lodha Committee wrote to the BCCI, questioning the disbursement of annual subsidies and other payments that had been made to to state associations, following which their accounts in Yes Bank and Bank of Maharashtra were frozen.
"We have no option other than to call off the India-New Zealand series as our banks have decided to freeze BCCI accounts. We don't want India to be humiliated in front of the world. How can we function, how can we hold any games now? Who will make the payment? Freezing a bank account is no joke. An international team is here, and there is so much at stake," a top BCCI official was quoted to have said in an Indian Express report.
The board decided to take this drastic measure on the day the Lodha panel issued a letter to the banks, urging them to not give BCCI access to funds. "It has come to the notice of this Committee that certain decisions have been taken at the 'Emergent Working Committee' meeting of the BCCI on 30th September 2016 to disburse large funds to the various member associations," the letter stated.
The letter has also been addressed to BCCI Secretary Ajay Shirke, CEO Rahul Johri and Treasurer Anirudh Choudhary.
"You are aware that by way of this Committee's direction dated 31.8.2016, no further decisions were to be taken regarding the future apart from routine matters. The disbursement of these amounts are not routine, and in any case, not emergent," the committee said.
"You are also aware that the BCCI has chosen to breach the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as well as the first set of Timelines set out by this Committee which includes the Fund Disbursement policy to be framed by 30.9.2016.
"As the status report is to be taken up for directions by the Hon'ble Court on Thursday, 6.10.2016, you are hereby directed not to take any steps towards financial disbursement of the amounts as resolved/approved after the direction dated 31.8.2016. Any violation of this direction will be placed before the Hon'ble Supreme Court for appropriate directions," it added.
The panel also cited the July 18 Supreme Court verdict, which had told the BCCI to "cooperate and act in aid of the Committee and its directives".
However, Justice RM Lodha, commenting on the freezing of accounts has said that BCCI was not asked to stop funds for routine matters, rather stop giving large funds to State Associations.
--with PTI inputs