The BCCI president and BJP MP, Anurag Thakur could be go to jail after the Supreme Court on Thursday said that he appeared to have “committed perjury.”
The apex court was informed that Thakur had made a false statement on asking the ICC whether a recommendation made by the Lodha committee amounted to interference in the board’s running.
The court said, “Prima facie we feel that both of them are liable for contempt and perjury and we are inclined to launch prosecution.”
The Supreme Court also said that the BCCI was obstructing the reforms recommended by the Lodha panel which were accepted by the apex court.
When asked by the SC, the amicus curiae in the case said, “Thakur lied on oath to Supreme Court, in his affidavit he said he sought Shashank Manohar’s opinion as BCCI chairman”.
The court reminded the BCCI top brass that Thakur had asked for a letter from ICC CEO Dave Richardson for the appointment of a CAG nominee in the cricket body. This would compromise with autonomy and amount to government interference.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, pulled up the BCCI for trying to mislead the court and warned Thakur that he may land in jail if the apex court pronounces its order in perjury proceedings.
“Why are you trying to mislead the court? If you want to escape perjury charges, you ought to apologise. At every stage you have been trying to obstruct. Everyone wants to go around and continue to hold the post even after 70 years. This is such a lucrative business that everyone wants to go on forever. “Freedom of expression allows you to disagree with the order but you can’t obstruct implementation of order. Once we pronounce the order (in perjury proceedings), you will have no other place to go except jail,” the court said. The top court also referred to a letter by the current ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar and said even he has said that Thakur had asked for such a letter, which he had refused.
While the bench was dwelling on the issue of Justice R M Lodha panel’s suggestion to appoint former Home Secretary G K Pillai as an observer of BCCI, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the board, said, “we have strong reservations but I don’t want to come out with the reason in public domain”.
However, expressing its strong displeasure against Anurag Thakur’s conduct, the bench said, “If you are asking for a letter from ICC, we prima facie feel that you are in contempt and we also prima facie feel that you are liable for perjury and we are inclined to launch prosecution.” “Manohar is very clear. You did ask him to write a letter from ICC that CAG nominee in BCCI would affect the autonomy of the board. What was the occasion for you to raise this and say so? CAG nominee was for maintaining the transparency.
“What was the occasion to raise this issue after the judgement of this court? How can you tell ICC CEO to give a letter that what this court has said in its judgement about CAG nominee amounts to governmental interference. This amounts to perjury,” the bench said.