Supreme Court removed Anurag Thakur from the post of BCCI president. Photo

India’s Supreme Court on Monday sacked Himachal Pradesh right-hand batsman and BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke, who were disqualified to their hold posts, for failing to implement the reforms suggested by the Lodha panel (a panel headed by a former top judge, Rajendra Mal Lodha) in July last year. Proper implementation of Lodha committee that called for sweeping changes in the structure of BCCI and the way it functioned.

It was not a happy 2017 for Anurag Thakur, he was removed with a show cause notice issued in regards to charges of perjury and contempt of court. A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud further issued notice to Mr. Thakur and Shirke to respond on why they should not face contempt of Supreme Court proceedings and criminal prosecution for perjury.

“For me, it was not a personal battle. It was a battle for the autonomy of the sports body, I respect the Supreme Court as any citizen should. Supreme Court judges feel that BCCI could do better under retired judges, I wish them all the best. I am sure Indian cricket will do well under their guidance.” Thakur said.

The Lodha Panel submitted its status report to the apex court on September 28, stating that the BCCI was not discussing the implementation of the reforms intentionally. CJI TS Thakur made a strong observation against the BCCI top brass of obstruction, the committee recommended that all the board and its state association top notch officials who have failed to meet the new norms set by the panel should be sacked.

Anurag Thakur has a chance to reply to the Supreme Court’s charges (the contempt notice) as does the BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke. The next hearing (replace the top brass of the BCCI with a new panel of administrators) will be decided on January 19.

According to ICC chief executive Dave Richardson, Anurag Thakur had asked ICC chief Shashank Manohar to issue a letter to BCCI, questioning the inclusion of government’s representative CAG in the functioning of the board but Manohar had refused to oblige Thakur in the absence of a formal communication in this regard. The court asked Thakur to clarify whether he sought ICC intervention in the matter.

The bench, guided by CJI TS Thakur, in the previous hearing on December 15 had threatened to commit perjury charges against Anurag Thakur for allegedly lying about asking the ICC (International Cricket Council) to term the Lodha reforms as governmental interference. During that hearing, Anurag Thakur had lied on oath to the SC, filling later an affidavit in the court saying why Thakur just wanted an amendment in this regard and that he didn’t want ICC’s intervening formula in the matter. Then the court observed that prima facie Thakur had initiated perjury on December 15.

“This was a logical consequence because so long as order of the Supreme Court (the highest court of the land) passed on July 18 stands, the BCCI was borne to obey it and being at the helm of affairs if they were not able to implement, these consequences were bound to follow and this is what has happened,” Justice Lodha said after the verdict.

“It is victory for the game of cricket and it will flourish. Administrator come and administrators go but it is for the benefit of the game & the game will flourish, I’m very sure.” Justice Lodha added.