Following reports that the BCCI has decided to cancel the ongoing India-New Zealand cricket series after Justice RM Lodha panel allegedly decided to ‘freeze’ the bank accounts of the cricket body, the BCCI-Lodha panel battle, which has been continuing for long, took an ugly turn today.
While the cricket body has so far been reluctant in accepting the recommendations of the panel and even refused to honour a deadline set by the Supreme Court, on Tuesday it apparently tried to ‘blackmail’ the Lodha panel which is trying to clean up India’s top cricketing body.
The BCCI apparently threatened to cancel the ongoing India-Newzealand series while alleging that the Lodha panel has asked banks to freeze its accounts. The Indian Express quoted a top BCCI official as saying: IE quoted a top BCCI official as saying: ““We have no option other than to call off the India-New Zealand series as our banks have decided to freeze BCCI accounts. We don’t want India to be humiliated in front of the world. How can we function, how can we hold any games now? Who will make the payment? Freezing a bank account is no joke. An international team is here, and there is so much at stake.”
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However, BCCI’s claim was found to be a ‘misreading’ of the panel’s letter to banks. Justice Lodha himself clarified that there is no cloud over the ongoing India-Newzealand series. “Directives which we issued to BCCI yesterday in our e-mail is confined to disbursement of large funds to State Associations.”
Justice Lodha categorically said that accounts of BCCI have not been frozen. “Accounts of BCCI have not been frozen. This isn’t the correct reading of our email, rather this is misinterpreting it,” he told ANI, adding that routine expenses for matches, games, cricketing activities and other administrative matters are not at all restrained.
Twitterati was quick to notice the ‘blackmail’ by BCCI as one user put it succinctly: “What a blackmail by BCCI. Justice Lodha panel never asked banks to not make payment for the routine cricket activities.”
Another user,Riya Mukherjee tweeted: “If @BCCI thinks that by playing a victim card or blackmailing we will not support Justice RM Lodha, they are wrong. We support Justice Lodha”
Here are how the Twiterrati reacted to BCCI’s threat:
What a blackmail by BCCI. Justice Lodha panel never asked banks to not make payment for the routine cricket activities.
— C. Shekhar Luthra (@shekharluthra) October 4, 2016
If @BCCI thinks that by playing a victim card or blackmailing we will not support Justice RM Lodha, they are wrong. We support Justice Lodha
— Riya Mukherjee (@riyalovezu) October 4, 2016
Shame on @BCCI membets to call off New Zealand because of justice Lodha’s recommendation. Should implement the recommendations asap
— Mohd Tarique (@tariqueazm) October 4, 2016
Cancelling NZ tour by BCCI because of Justice Lodha is exactly like punching Doctor in the face because he gave a kid injection to get well
— Rahul (@rahulksingh291) October 4, 2016
#BCCI playing the victim card, Justice Lodha clean bowls them 😉
— Faheem (@stoppression) October 4, 2016
Justice Lodha is right to every extent. #BCCI has a become fund raising industry for corrupt politicians across all parties.
— Aditya Mishra (@adiforyou) October 4, 2016
The BCCI, however, got some support from the usual quarters — politicians and business class.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted: “No doubt BCCI functioning needed to be looked into but with due respect to Justice Lodha his too much interference would kill Cricket.” In another Tweet he said: “Witch hunting Justice Lodha would kill the game and bring disrepute the Country.”
No doubt BCCI functioning needed to be looked into but with due respect to Justice Lodha his too much interference would kill Cricket.
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) October 4, 2016
Suhel Seth tweeted: “Justice Lodha would have done INDIA great service by cleaning up the judiciary but I guess cricket is more populist. Shame.”
Justice Lodha would have done INDIA great service by cleaning up the judiciary but I guess cricket is more populist. Shame.
— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) October 4, 2016
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that New Zealand are preparing for the third test against India as scheduled despite the IE report that the remainder of the tour has been cancelled by the Indian cricket board due to financial problems.