Tendulkar holds BCCI 'responsible' for Conflict of Interest charges; seeks clarification

Tendulkar reasoned that BCCI never clarified the scope of his role as a CAC member Getty

Unhappy with BCCI's standpoint on the Conflict of Interest issue, Sachin Tendulkar has asked COA chief Vinod Rai and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to "clarify their position" on the matter. In his 13-point response to BCCI Ethics Officer DK Jain, Tendulkar held BCCI "responsible for the situation" that has arisen because of his dual role as a member of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and an 'Icon' of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians.

"The Noticee (Tendulkar) repeats that BCCI is responsible for the situation created in terms of the Noticee's honorary empanelment to the CAC even though he was a Mumbai Indians Icon at the relevant time. The BCCI shall be called upon to clarify the issue," Tendulkar mentioned in his 13-point letter to Jain, a copy of which is with the PTI.

Tendulkar has firmly rejected the classification of his Conflict of Interest case as "tractable", something that BCCI CEO Johri referred to the case as in his letter to the Ethics Officer, written in consultation with the COA.

"Tractable conflicts", according to the BCCI's constitution clause 38 (3) (a), "are those that are resolvable or permissible or excusable through recusal of the individual concerned and - or - with full disclosure of the interest involved".

All three members of the CAC, namely Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, have already denied the charges of conflict of interest by BCCI's ombudsman-cum-ethics officer.

Tendulkar made strong points of rebuttal in his letter, putting the focus back on BCCI, the board, which now non-committal, had appointed him a CAC member back in 2015. "Without prejudice to the aforesaid, the Noticee submits that it is surprising that the BCCI, being the very authority responsible for the Noticee's empanelment to the Cricket Advisory Committee ("CAC"), is presently taking a position that the Noticee is exposed to an alleged conflict of interest," Tendulkar wrote.

"It is reiterated that, the Noticee was declared as the Mumbai Indians 'ICON' post his retirement in 2013, which was much prior to his appointment to the CAC in 2015."

In point 12 of his letter, Tendulkar wrote: "The Noticee fails to understand how the BCCI (after having appointed him to the CAC) can now maintain its current stand that he is in a position of 'tractable' conflict of interest. The BCCI Response does not clarify this variance in its stance and the Noticee requests the Hon'ble Ethics Officer to call upon BCCI Officials, Mr. Rahul Johri and Mr. Vinod Rai to clarify this position."

Tendulkar, much on the lines of VVS Laxman's response, reasoned that the BCCI never clarified the scope of his role as a CAC member, despite his repeated attempts to seek clarification.

"The Noticee (Tendulkar) has time and again sought clarification from the BCCI on the scope of his role in the CAC - but has not received a response from BCCI till date. BCCI is aware that the CAC merely performs an advisory / recommendatory role - and therefore, the Noticee's role as a Mumbai Indians Icon (which in fact has always been in the public domain) cannot, in any practical way, conflict with his involvement in the CAC."

To make his case stronger, Tendulkar pointed to how he had recused himself from the U19 recruitment process as his son Arjun Tendulkar was a contender. "It is critical to note that the Noticee had specifically written to the BCCI in respect of the potential conflict of interest that could have arisen in the aforesaid scenario," he wrote referring to that particular situation.

Tendulkar also said that it was "unfortunate" that he had to clarify his position after having served the Indian cricket team for over two decades.

"The Noticee has served the Indian cricket team for more than 2 decades and accepted empanelment with the CAC to help and contribute towards the growth of Indian cricket. It is unfortunate that the Noticee has to clarify the questions raised in the Complaint and BCCI Response.