Mumbai, Nov 21 : Following allegations of sexual harassment charges against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, who was sent on three weeks leave, will continue his office as three-member Independent Inquiry Committee on Wednesday cleared him of charges, but the Committee of Administrators (CoA) remained divided on this issue after Diana Edulji disagreed and demanded resignation of Johri.
In the report, CoA’s three-member probe panel, comprising former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh and Lawyer-activist Veena Gowda, dismissed the allegations as ‘mischivous and fabricated’.
Johri is now free to resume office but with a probability of ‘gender sensitivity counselling’ as suggested by Gowda, owing to his "inappropriate behaviour" with one of the complainants during the Champions Trophy in Birmingham. She, however, maintained there was no case of sexual harassment against Johri.
The decision to clear Johri was not unanimous as Chairman Vinod Rai voted for Johri joining back while Diana Edulji recommended his resignation as well as counselling. While Edulji insisted on the report not being published on Wednesday, asking for a few days to study it, Vinod Rai took the call of opening the report in front of the panel members as well as BCCI’s legal team.
Head of the probe committee Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma said, "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."
The women who accused Johri of sexual harassment were deposed via Skype in a meeting which was attended by BCCI’s former Anti-Corruption Unit chief Neeraj Kumar, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, IPL petitioner Aditya Verma, and former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi.
A fourth complainant, who accused Johri of inappropriate behaviour, did not turn up for deposition. Johri’s deposition, which took place towards the end of the probe, was spread over two days.
The CoA report, which was completed in 15 days, would now be submitted to the Supreme Court. (UNI)