Limaye’s NSE CEO job in balance, BCCI told to drop contentious deal

Committee of Administrators has not cleared agreement to appoint a tax advisor to BCCI to avoid questions of possible conflict of interest for Limaye.

 

RUHI TEWARI

With the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) yet to approve IDFC Managing Director Vikram Limaye’s appointment as CEO of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) — apparently due to questions over his position in the BCCI — the panel of administrators running the Indian cricket board has moved to stop an agreement that could have hurt Limaye’s case.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court to manage the affairs of the BCCI has not cleared an agreement that proposed to appoint Dhruva Advisors LLP as tax advisor to BCCI.

Limaye is one of four members of the CoA, the others being former CAG Vinod Rai, historian Ramachandra Guha and former Indian women’s cricket team captain Diana Edulji. Rai is also the non-executive independent chairman of IDFC.

Dinesh Hasmukhrai Kanabar, the CEO of Dhruva Advisors, was part of the four-member search committee that picked Limaye as CEO of NSE. Kanabar is also an independent director at NSE.

In its meeting on 1 February, the CoA had empowered BCCI CEO Rahul Johri to implement the functioning of the board in the interim period following the removal of BCCI office bearers as part of a wider move to reform the cricket board. BCCI subsequently proposed engaging Dhruva Advisors as its tax advisor.

However, with SEBI still in the process of vetting Limaye’s appointment, and questions of possible conflict of interest being raised, the CoA has decided to drop this proposed contract, it is learnt.

The Economic Times reported Tuesday that SEBI is yet to approve Limaye’s appointment as NSE CEO as it is not sure whether he could do justice as the head of the country’s biggest stock exchange if he continues in his role of managing BCCI through the CoA.

Limaye himself is believed to have communicated the decision to drop Dhruva Advisors to other members of the CoA as well as BCCI officials through an email on Wednesday. “EL (engagement letter) of Dhruva was not approved by CoA in April meeting and therefore does not need to be approved by secretary,” Limaye said in the email, ThePrint has learnt.

ThePrint reached Limaye for comment and he promised to respond soon. However, there was no response until the time of publication despite several reminders.

“There was a proposal from the BCCI management to engage Dhruva, which was discussed. But given Mr Limaye’s situation with NSE and in the interest of good governance, this was not deemed appropriate and hence, not gone through with,” Rajesh Chaturvedi, chairman of AdFactors PR, the BCCI’s public relations agency, told ThePrint.

A four-member selection committee comprising two public interest directors at NSE — Dinesh Kanabar and Mohandas Pai, chairman of Manipal Global Education — and two independent experts — Anand Mahindra, chairman, Mahindra Group, and Usha Thorat, former RBI deputy governor, picked Limaye for the NSE post earlier this year.

In January this year, the Supreme Court appointed a Committee of Administrators to oversee the running of BCCI until fresh elections are held as per the recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha Committee.

 

–         Ruhi Tewari is Associate Editor at ThePrint. You can follow her on Twitter @RuhiTewari

 

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