An independent three-member committee that went into sexual harassment allegations against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri has given him a clean chit on the issue but the Committee of Administrators in the board is divided over the clean chit with CoA Chairman Vinod Rai saying Johri can resume office.
The three-member independent panel, comprising retired Justice Rakesh Sharma, former Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Barkha Singh and lawyer-activist Veena Gowda called the allegations levelled against Johri as "baseless and fabricated" in their report.
"The allegations of sexual harassment in the office or elsewhere are false, baseless and have been fabricated and manufactured with an ulterior motive to harm Rahul Johri and throw him out of BCCI," Justice Sharma stated in his findings.
"No adverse action need to be taken against Johri, CEO, BCCI, on the basis of these mischievous, false, fabricated, unsubstantiated complaints, e-mails, tweets, etc. on social media," he added.
On receipt of the report on Wednesday, Rai, a former CAG, decided that Johri should be reinstated, a proposal Diana Edulji, the other member of the Committee of Administrators, with which she did not agree.
"Since there is no consensus between the two members of the Committee of Administrators regarding what action should be taken against Rahul Johri, the Chairman (Vinod Rai) stated that the natural consequence would be that Johri continues as the CEO of BCCI and is entitled resume office," stated a release from the CoA on Wednesday.
"(Diana) Edulji disagreed with this. However, the Chairman reiterated that Rahul Johri should continue as the CEO of BCCI and resume his duties, as a natural consequence," it added.
Johri was earlier asked to go on forced leave for the last three weeks owing to sexual harassment allegations made against him levelled by a woman colleague in his previous organisation.
Gowda agreed that she has not found him guilty of sexual harassment. She, however, made some serious recommendations in the matter.
"Each of the allegations before the committee has been dealt with above and as a conclusion I am reiterating some of the consequential observations made therein for recommended action:
A) The Conduct of Rahul Johri at Birmingham as a CEO of an institution such as BCCI is unprofessional and inappropriate which would adversely affect its reputation and the same has to be looked at by the concerned authorities.
B) In view of his conduct at Birmingham as well as keeping in mind the allegations made by Ms. X and his conduct before this Committee with respect to the photographs submitted, it is essential that Mr. Johri undergo some form of gender sensitivity counselling/ training," she wrote.The committee was set up on October 25 and was given 15 days to complete the investigation.