By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi: Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry has called Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai out. Having largely maintained public silence over the last three years, Anirudh has finally decided to put the facts straight regarding certain claims that Rai made in a recent interview of his.
The former treasurer feels that not only has Rai failed the board with respect to the ICC during his term as CoA chief, but also that his self-confessed relationship with ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar might have cost the Indian board dearly.
In a recent interview when asked if the BCCI received the money promised to the Indian board by the ICC as per the 2014 revenue model, Rai said he had asked the same question to the former treasurer. But Anirudh says he can only laugh at how the former CAG exposed his lack of awareness and understanding of cricket administration through the statement.
Speaking to IANS, the former treasurer said that he had no idea where this point came from and said he wouldn’t even do guess work on the reason behind Rai’s comments.
“Though the entire interview of Rai is rife with incorrect facts and false narratives and is laughable, why Rai would have said this in an interview is beyond me and I would not even hazard a guess as to the reason because I would be incapable of thinking in the convoluted manner that he seems to favour. Vinod Rai’s response has basically exposed his utter lack of understanding of that particular issue,” he pointed out.
Anirudh said that it was nothing short of tragic that the former CoA chief failed to correctly comprehend the basics of a substantial part of the BCCI’s revenue stream and that he did not expect this from a former CAG.
“It is tragic that someone who has chaired a committee that was to supervise the administration of the BCCI for about three years, has not even comprehended the basic facts correctly regarding something that forms a substantial part of the BCCI’s revenue stream and this smacks of either incompetence or misguidance. The fact that he was expecting a share of that money in two financial years (2014-15 and 2015-16) really does expose his lack of understanding or of those who were briefing him like Rahul Johri, the CEO and I personally did not expect this from a former CAG of the country who had gone to the trouble of finding notional losses,” he smiled.
The former treasurer went on to add that while Rai ensured that there was hardly any communication between the two, the former office bearer isn’t complaining. He went on to further explain how the model was to work.
“Rai hardly had any communication with me and it was by his design not mine and for that, I am thankful. It is never too late to set the record straight regarding this particular issue so here are the facts:
a. The new model adopted in 2014 dealt with the ICC Rights’ cycle for the period — 2015-2023.
b. First major event of that rights’ cycle, the ICC WorldT20, took place in 2016 in India. (Shashank Manohar was then the ICC Chairman and the BCCI President)
c. The element of contribution cost as per that model would have been paid prior to the audit, but would have become due to the BCCI in 2017.
d. The Dubai Financial Year ends on the December 31. So the FY 2016 of the ICC closed on 31.12. 2016. Thereafter, the ICC’s accounts would get audited and would be passed by the ICC Board. (Sometime in 2017).
e. The payments would be made post the approval by the Board and the final payment would be made after the AGM in 2017 where the accounts would be passed.
f. So the first payment for that rights cycle even as per the 2014 model was to come sometime in 2017. The CoA was in control at that point in time.
g. Expecting the receipt of such payments in Financial Years 2014-15 and 2015-16 which would only have become due after the financial years mentioned by Rai (2014-15 and 2015-16) had concluded, definitely exposes the lack of understanding of either Rai or those who were briefing him like the CEO.
h. Additionally, the narration of facts by Rai with regard to the CoA and their handling of the ICC issues also contain grave factual errors and is nothing but an attempt to propagate a false narrative in order to disguise their mishandling of the issue in 2017. The new ‘governance package’ as he calls it and the new ‘financial package’ were both adopted during the CoA’s tenure,” he explained.
Lambasting Rai for his conflicting versions on the whole turn of events with regards to the ICC, Anirudh said: “Rai also seems conflicted in his thoughts since on the one hand he attempts to put the blame on others for the BCCI losing out on the ‘governance package’ and the ‘financial package’ and on the other hand heaps praises on Manohar and admits that he had an excellent relationship with Shashank. Was it not this relationship that gave Shashank or the ICC the confidence to treat the BCCI shabbily without any fear of reprisal from the BCCI?
“It is common knowledge that Manohar is responsible for the reduction of the BCCI’s position in the ICC but this statement of Rai raises serious concerns that he was an accessory to this plan. Rai and his colleagues were meeting and engaging with the other ICC member boards in February – March 2017 while keeping the office bearers in the dark and away from administration by passing directions. They failed to watch the BCCI’s interest and because things went south, they sought to blame others for their failures,” he said.
Harping on how decisions in the Rai-led CoA regime was based more on whims and fancies than administrative acumen, Anirudh provided further clarity on how the revenue sharing was modelled.
“The fact that Rai is unaware of the figure of $372 million as the BCCI’s projected share, only demonstrates that the administration of BCCI under his supervision was working without proper systems, standard operating procedures or checks and balances and that for the senior employees that he was relying on, the CoA tenure was a holiday of sorts. This figure of $372 million would be fructified only if the target revenue of the ICC of $2.8 billion is attained by the ICC. As per the current status, the ICC is projected revenue is $2,496 million and the BCCI is set to get a figure of only $304 million, not even $372 million. The lack of awareness of Rai of such a crucial matter is a testimony to the inefficiency of the CoA administration and of the senior employees such as the CEO and the CFO Santosh Rangnekar who either hadn’t briefed the CoA or didn’t bother with these crucial figures,” he lamented.
For those unaware, the CFO has resigned after the new office bearers took charge.
Anirudh went on to share how his hands were tied by the directions issued by the CoA and how he followed each direction on account of the order of the Supreme Court.
“A bare perusal of the directions issued by the CoA qua me during their tenure would demonstrate the extent that they had gone to in order to scuttle my voice and work. On account of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, I followed each of their directions religiously, even if I found some of those directions ridiculous and contrary to the principles of corporate governance,” he said.
In fact, the former treasurer went on to add how he kept quiet even when the minutes of one of the few meetings of the CoA that he had attended had not been recorded correctly.
“Though I had raised several questions internally, I had not expressed myself publicly, even when the Minutes of one of the few meetings of the CoA that I had attended had not been recorded correctly by the CoA. This was very serious and I raised the issue with the CoA but did not get any reply. The only reason that I chose to respond now is because of the blatantly false narrative that has been sought to be propagated by Rai through his interview, which is rife with incorrect facts and narratives on various issues,” he signed off.