Fifteen days after Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani was asked to file a written response over an alleged ‘conflict of interest’ complaint filed by him, Sanjeev Gupta has requested BCCI’s Ethics Officer Vineet Saran to withdraw all 21 pending cases filed by him as a complainant.
In his complaint, Gupta, former member of Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, had written that Ambani is “hit by an instance of Conflict of Interest”, according to BCCI rules, since “she is owner of BCCI IPL Franchisee of Mumbai Indians Team & also RIL-Owned / Subsidiary Viacom 18 won the IPL Media rights thus Viacom 18 entered into contractual arrangement with BCCI for IPL media rights”. Saran had asked for a written response from Nita Ambani by September 2.
However, on August 21, Gupta emailed the chief Justices of the Supreme Court, marking copies to the BCCI ethics officer & ombudsman, and to the media, that he wishes to withdraw all his pending complaints, and that this would be his last mail to them.
In his email, he cited an incident on August 20 that pushed him into taking this action to “safeguard my health and life”.
“Unforeseen ugly incidence [sic] occurred on 20 Aug 2022 , which deteriorated my health issues drastically, thus said unforeseen ugly incidence have compelled me to leave at once my 6 & ½ years selfless pure intent for letter & spirit compliance of The Law of the Land, The Supreme Court of India verdicts , Lodha Reforms , BCCI Constitution , to safeguard my health & life,” Gupta wrote, a copy of which is with The Indian Express. “… In compulsion, I withdrew my long pending 21 factual / precise complaints.”
He described the episode thus: “unlimited barbaric perpetual act of insult , threat , humiliations , harassments , atrocities done with me to stop me from said noble cause/intent of Compliance of Supreme Court verdicts”.
A text message was sent to BCCI’S Ethics Officer Vineet Saran seeking his views on whether the BCCI has accepted his complaints. There is no clarity yet whether Ambani’s case will be heard. When contacted, a top BCCI official declined to comment on anything related to Gupta’s email.
Gupta’s pending 21 Complaints, filed from July 2020, ranged from ‘conflict of interest’ to ‘breach in BCCI’s constitution. They were against Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, four complaints on Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, two on the treasurer Arun Dhumal, one on BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, and the one on Nita Ambani.
In 2016, after a long hearing, the Supreme Court had wanted a complete overhaul of the BCCI’s constitution. And when the state associations didn’t comply with the order, the apex court appointed a Committee of Administrators.
It was then that Gupta started to inform the COA about any one allegedly violating the rules and the board constitution. Based on his complaint, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman were found to be in breach of the conflict-of-interest clause, which was introduced in BCCI’s new constitution post-Lodha reforms.
Even after the disbanding of the CoA, Gupta continued to raise complaints though he didn’t find a favourable response from the BCCI. For nearly a year, the BCCI had the post of Ethics cum Ombudsman officer, vacant. There was no one in charge to address Gupta’s complaints.
“Nothing of mine was at stake , it was Supreme Court of India verdicts sanctity & compliance was at stake , for which I selflessly without any vested interest combated day & in day out since 4th Jan 2016 , when Lodha Committee submitted their Lodha Reforms Report to Supreme Court of India , I entered with empty hands on 4 Jan 2016 with sole pure intent of compliance of Supreme Court verdicts & on 20 Aug 2022 I exited with empty hands only,” Gupta further wrote.
He ended the mail with: “Lastly , this is probably my last email , unless & until need arises due to unforeseen ugly incidence occurred on 20 Aug 2022 & if any harassment , humiliation , insult , threat , atrocity is done with me then I will immediately apprise you all Respected Sirs & Others.”