Ganguly’s ‘double role’ a conflict-of-interest case? BCCI boss Manohar says ‘no’

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BCCI president Shashank Manohar sees Sourav Ganguly’s ‘double role’ – he is a member of IPL governing council and co-owner of Indian Super League football team Atletico de Kolkata – as a matter of ‘perception’ and said that the former India captain was clear of the conflict zone.

The question of the conflict of interest, about which the BCCI recently issued strict guidelines for its administrators, in Ganguly’s case arose on Tuesday after one of the Atletico de Kolkata owners, Sanjiv Goenka, won a bid for the Pune IPL franchise for next two years by quoting minus Rs 16 crore in the reverse bid (the base price was Rs 40 crore).

The ‘perception’ is that as IPL GC member, Ganguly would have known some confidential things from which Goenka’s company New Rising Promoters Pvt Ltd, which won the bid, might have benefitted.

Ganguly was among the officials who scrutinised the bids submitted by five entities. He was included in the IPL GC as an administrator Ganguly – and not as a former India player – in his capacity as president of the Cricket Association of Bengal.

When asked if the presence of Ganguly qualified as a conflict of interest case, Manohar said he was not.

“According to me it does not because this was a transparent bidding process and these two teams were different,” Manohar said at a press conference, giving a clean chit to Ganguly.

“People have not understood the meaning of the word ‘conflict’. It is where there is an obvious bias towards a decision making process; when a person can influence the decision-making then only would there be conflict. You can’t stretch conflict to absurdity levels,” he said.

“For example, I am lawyer by profession. I may have a client who wants to enter into a contract with the Board. Until and unless there is something to show, that I can influence the decision making process, there is no conflict,” Manohar said.

“In the present case, the bid has been given by New Rising. It was a close bid, which was submitted at the bidding process. Sourav Ganguly had nothing to do. So, I don’t see any conflict,” he said. “And as I said, even now if somebody has an objection now, we have decided an ombudsman who would decide the issue. Whether I say that it is a conflict or it’s not a conflict it’s not going to decide it.”

Ajit Prakash Shah, a former Chief Justice of the Delhi and Madras High Courts, has been appointed as ombudsman by the BCCI.

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