New Delhi, November 21: The sexual harassment allegations against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri were rejected as "mischievous and fabricated" by a three-member probe panel on Wednesday (November 21), but the Committee of Administrators was divided on him resuming office with Diana Edulji reiterating her demand for his resignation.
Johri was on forced leave for the past three weeks but can now resume office even though one member of the probe committee recommended "gender sensitivity counselling" for him.
The two-member CoA was divided on the issue. While Chairman Vinod Rai approved of Johri joining back, Edulji demanded his resignation on the basis of some recommendations, including counselling.
The three-member probe panel comprised Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma, former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh and lawyer-activist Veena Gowda, who recommended counselling for Johri.
"The complainants have failed to provide their cases as set up by them...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 Mr. Rahul Johri and throw him out of BCCI..," head of the probe committee Justice Sharma stated in his findings.
UPDATE: The independent inquiry committee handed over their report to the CoA at 11: 30 AM today during a meeting held at the BCCI HQ. pic.twitter.com/50m7vjqww8— BCCI (@BCCI) November 21, 2018
Reacting to the development Johri told PTI news agency, "I am relieved and always had faith in god that I will come clear in this mess."
The committee, which was formed on October 25, was given 15 days to complete the probe by the CoA. Its report would also be submitted to the Supreme Court.
The first allegation against Johri was an anonymous e-mail accusing him of sexual misconduct, shared by a Twitter handle, which later deleted the post. The accuser claimed to be an ex-colleague of Johri at a previous job. There were subsequently two more allegations, one from a Singapore-based media professional and another woman, who worked with Johri in one of his previous organisations.
Both women deposed via Skype, along with BCCI's former Anti-Corruption Unit chief Neeraj Kumar, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, IPL petitioner Aditya Verma, and former Mumbai captain Shishir Hattangadi. There were also allegations against Johri about inappropriate behaviour with a female employee of the BCCI. However, the employee in question didn't turn up for deposition as was widely speculated.
Johri was the last person to depose and it was spread over two days. Edulji didn't want the report to be published on Wednesday and demanded that she be given at least a few days to study it. However, Rai opened the report in the presence of the panel members as well as BCCI's legal team during the day.
(With inputs from PTI)