BCCI ethics officer finds Rupa guilty of conflict of interest
In this post, we discuss about the case where BCCI Ethics Officer finds TNCA president Rupa Gurunath guilty of conflict of interest.
Facts of the case: Rupa Gurunath is the daughter of former BCCI president N Srinivasan and she became the first woman president of a state association in September 2019. She is also a director at India Cements Limited (ICL). Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, a former life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, raised his concern about Gurunath’s dual roles prompting the BCCI ethics officer to look into the case. She is also a director at India Cements Limited (ICL), which in the eyes of law is too closely connected with Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd (CSKCL), the owners of that IPL franchise. In the given factual scenario, it can be safely inferred that Ms Gurunath, in her capacity as whole-time director and promoter of ICL, has close association with trustees of ICL Shareholders Trust and the Directors of CSKCL, which has franchise agreement with the BCCI. As per Rule 38(1) (i) of the Ethics code, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association President, Rupa Gurunath, has been found guilty of conflict of interest by the BCCI ethics officer due to her potential ties to the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.
Legal Issue: As per Rule 38(1) (i) of the Ethics code, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association President, Rupa Gurunath, has been found guilty of conflict of interest by the BCCI ethics officer due to her potential ties to the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.
Legal Opinion: As per the legal point of view, all the facts go on to show that a circuitous web of entities including CSKCL has been created under the umbrella of ICL. The management and governance of all such entities directly or indirectly, lies in the Board of ICL, notwithstanding the defense pleaded that ICL has no stake in CSKCL. As per Rule 38(1) (i) of the Ethics code, Rupa’s is a case of “indirect” conflict of interest if not “direct” since it is CSKCL and not India Cements that has entered into a franchise agreement with the BCCI. Direct or indirect interest comes into play when the BCCI, a member, the IPL or a franchise enter into contractual arrangements with entities in which the official(s) concerned or his/her relative, partner, or close associate has an interest that may be seen to compromise the work they do for the board.
Conclusion: Therefore, the BCCI shall take requisite steps in accordance with law, to ensure due compliance of Rule 38 (2) of the Rules in case of the respondent (Rupa’s case). This rule, as per BCCI constitution, pertains to disclosure of all relevant information about the case. The failure to issue a complete disclosure or any partial or total suppression thereof would render the individual open to disciplinary action which may include termination or removal without benefits.
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