Rahul Dravid exonerated; Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman's verdicts could be reconsidered

Updated: Nov 15, 2019, 07:45 IST | Harit N Joshi | Mumbai

The bone of contention in Dravid's case was that a mere 'leave of absence' from his employers India Cements before taking up the BCCI job was not enough

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid

Former India skipper  Rahul Dravid was given a clean chit in the conflict of interest case for being the  head of cricket at BCCI's National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and also an employee of India Cements that  owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. 

BCCI ethics officer Justice DK Jain on Thursday delivered the judgment in Dravid's favour after spending over four months from time he received the complaint in July from Sanjeev Gupta, a life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket  Association.

The bone of contention in Dravid's case was that a mere 'leave of absence' from his employers India Cements before taking up the BCCI job was not enough. 

Justice Jain in his verdict said: "In my view, the over emphasised issue of effect of 'leave of absence', without pay, obtained and granted to Dravid by his employer, India Cements Ltd is of little relevance for deciding the question whether a case of conflict of interest is made out. In my opinion, even assuming for the sake of argument that 'leave of absence' obtained by Dravid from his employer is of no consequence because of alleged close relationship between India Cements Ltd and Chennai Super Kings Ltd, in his position as Chief Cricket Coach at NCA, he does not fall in any of the forms of rules explained."

Justice Jain took a pragmatic view of conflict of interest Rule 38 in Dravid's case. "In order to make out a case of conflict of interest, it is to be seen whether by virtue of his position as an employee of India Cements Ltd, as alleged, Dravid's posts would give rise to an apprehension of lack of objectivity or bias while discharging his functions assigned to  him by the BCCI as a Team Official, being the Head Cricket Coach of NCA or vice-versa. "At least, I am unable to fathom any such circumstance [none has even been pointed out by the complainant]," said  Justice Jain.

Justice Jain in his previous judgments had held Dravid's India teammates Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman guilty of conflict of interest for  holding multiple posts. In Dravid's case though, Justice Jain has avoided taking "literal interpretations" of the conflict rules. "In order to avoid any of the provisions in the rules being rendered meaningless or ineffective, the earlier opinion expressed by me in the afore-noted cases [Ganguly and Laxman], calls for a reconsideration to that limited extent," he said.

"To put it differently, for examining an instance of  conflict of interest, mere holding of posts by an individual associated with the BCCI, as identified in Sub-rule (4) of Rule 38, may not per-se be
sufficient for arriving at the conclusion of existence of conflict of interest. But whether holding of such post(s) gives rise to conflict of interest or not must also be tested on the anvil of reasonable apprehensions," Justice Jain added.

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