New Delhi: The Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) has moved an application before the Supreme Court with a request to let it exit the apex council of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Filed on 3 July by advocate Gaurav Sharma, the application asks the top court to modify its 18 July 2016 verdict that ordered the BCCI to include a CAG nominee in its 9-member apex council and the IPL governing council and the state cricket associations.
The government auditor has suggested that the court may consider the “supreme audit financial institution of India” only for the purpose to audit BCCI — either as a routine on annual or biennial basis or as and when directed by the court. For this task, it said, the BCCI will be charged and the money received shall be deposited to government account, like in cases where audit of statutory organisations is undertaken. At present, the BCCI is audited by private firms.
Alternatively, it said, the CAG can nominate a panel of auditors to audit BCCI and the state associations under its supervision.
The Supreme Court had ordered the inclusion of a CAG nominee with the objective to ensure transparency and maintain financial oversight in the functioning of the BCCI. It was one of the measures the court had pronounced to bring reforms in the way cricket was played and managed, after it accepted Justice R.M. Lodha’s recommendations to overhaul the affairs of BCCI. The Lodha panel was formed after the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal.
The CAG, however, said in its application that the inclusion of its nominee is not serving the desired objectives of the court and that of Justice Lodha panel. Being a part of the management decisions precludes the oversight role envisaged in the Supreme Court verdict, it said.
The auditor also asked the court to make it a party in the proceedings that are still pending before it. In a related application, the CAG said considering the nature of duties outlined for it in the 2016 verdict, it has an important role to play and that may warrant it to make submissions before the court from time to time.
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‘Role played by the CAG nominee is different from their field of expertise’
In compliance of the court order, the CAG, on 4 December 2019, had nominated a senior officer, Alka Rehani, to the BCCI. Other senior officers in the state accountant general offices were deputed to the state bar associations.
“It is relevant to point out that out of 35 state associations, till date only 18 have requested for nominations and these 18 nominations have been made. The remaining 17 are yet to approach the nominating officers for nomination in their respective councils,” read the CAG application.
Ever since the nomination, the apex council of the BCCI has met only twice, and three IPL governing council meetings have been held. The CAG’s nominee in the BCCI has attended all the meetings, the auditor submitted.
Based on the observations and experiences at the meetings of the BCCI, the state associations and the IPL governing body, the CAG said, the role played by its nominee is completely different from their field of expertise. The court’s objective to have “much required oversight into monitoring the finances of the BCCI” would be better addressed by a “somewhat different approach.”
CAG Audit would help bring more transparency, efficiency
According to the CAG, its nominee does not have much say in the administrative decisions taken by the apex council. Such decisions include finalization of the cricket calendar, fixture of matches and deciding fees for players, an area that does not fall within the CAG’s domain.
Also, majority strength of the council is that of its elected bearers. The CAG nominee is just one of the nine members in the apex council and one of the seven in IPL’s governing council, and is, therefore, party to every decision taken, whether or not he or she is in agreement with those decisions.
This present arrangement effectively precludes CAG from discharging its supervisory role over the quality of audit of the BCCI done by private firms. Instead, it would make private firms sit over managerial decisions to which CAG’s nominee is a party.
So far, the CAG’s office, the application stated, has received 120 complaints against the BCCI and state associations.
The CAG has also experienced extreme practical problems due to this arrangement. The officer nominated to either the BCCI or a state association cannot be moved out of the station during his or her tenure. “This results in overloading the officer who is the nominee in the BCCI or state cricket association,” CAG said.
Being a final auditor, the CAG proposed, the court can call upon it to undertake a special audit of the BCCI or review the audit carried out by a private firm.
“The oversight role for the CAG envisaged by this court would thus be fulfilled, and it would help bring about more transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the functioning of BCCI and state cricket associations, which would be consistent with the recommendations of the Lodha committee,” the application stated.
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