The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri who is paid an annual gross salary of Rs. 5,76,36,000 crore other than the allowances and other benefits, has requested the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to look into his increment process and the same is set to be discussed during the meeting of the committee on May 21 in the Capital. With CoA chief Vinod Rai giving the go-ahead to Johri's request for immediate attention, the matter is set to be brought up when the three committee members -- Rai, Diana Edulji and Ravi Thodge meet on Tuesday.
As per the contract of the CEO, accessed by IANS, the performance of the executive (Johri) was to be evaluated annually and increments were to be in the form of variables linked with increase in revenue of BCCI out of the efforts of the executive.
The BCCI is also expected to decide at the end of the third year of service - 2019 - whether any revision is required in the clause of incremental cash inflow otherwise, the variable would be restricted to 0.5 per cent of the incremental cash flow restricted to Rs 3,00,00,000.
Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI functionary raised a situation that he described as a travesty for the BCCI.
"This is a travesty. The Lodha Committee recommendations and the orders of the Supreme Court gave the authority to sign contracts for an on behalf of the BCCI to the secretary of the board. In terms of all legal matters as well, the board is to sue and be sued in the name of the secretary. Presently, the CoA got a constitution registered that is not in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court and that coupled with the directions issued by the CoA mean that the contracts are executed by the CEO on behalf of the BCCI and it is the CEO that is looking after all legal matters with the might of a big law firm firmly behind him.
"So if the CoA decides that the agreement with the CEO should be modified, will we see a scenario where Rahul Johri will sign both on behalf of the BCCI and on his own behalf?
"Also, if there is a dispute between the BCCI and Rahul Johri over this, will Johri give instructions to the BCCI lawyers on this matter and in case he does not officially give any instructions, what prevents the BCCI law firm from supporting his case? Where are we going with this? This anomaly of legal representation had been pointed out to the CoA earlier as well but they had refused to accept that this anomaly existed."
Another senior BCCI official who was part of the General Body and the Working Committee when the CEO had been appointed, put forward a couple of queries asking if the clauses had indeed been fulfilled by the CEO to be eligible for an increment.
"It was clear that his increments would be on the basis of increase in revenue only because of the CEO's efforts. The BCCI already had a series of existing revenue streams that were giving the BCCI substantial income, the idea was that if we have a professional CEO, he was supposed to add new revenue streams as the old streams really took care of themselves on their own. While there has been an increase in revenue generation from media rights and sponsorship deals, that is basically on account of appreciation in the value of those rights which is a universal phenomenon.
"The rights value grow at a particular percentage and that is how the value is arrived at even by the companies that bid for the rights. The appreciation doesn't have anything to do with him putting any effort, unless of course the CEO is willing to admit that he has rigged the bids in anyways since all those rights are given by way of a tender process.
"Even the work that has been carried out has actually been a team effort and I am unable to understand by what logic are they trying to attribute any increase in revenue to his efforts. On the one hand you can't be saying that the money comes in because of the players if on the other hand you are trying to say that the revenue has come in because of the efforts of the CEO by applying some crazy logic."
A former BCCI official who was also present in the meeting where Johri's appointment was put before the board said: "When he had been appointed he was supposed to make a presentation to the BCCI where he would tell the house about the new revenue streams and how he would add to the value. He did no such thing. That presentation was supposed to be the basis on which he was supposed to be evaluated. So here you have this employee, who did not allow for targets to be set, who did not tell the house how such a huge cost to the organisation in employing him would be justified but when the exiting value appreciated, wishes to earn money off the efforts of other people. These broadcast rights and the systems in place which have given the money to the BCCI were in place long before a CEO was even dreamt of.
"The idea of having him on board was to have new revenue streams and to ensure that domestic cricket in the country was better promoted. While even local T20 leagues are getting fan bases, the Mushtaq Ali Trophy still cuts a sorry figure, as does the Vijay Hazare Trophy. So, what exactly has his role been in increasing revenue generation? Had he done something to popularise that or add more revenue streams, the BCCI would have absolutely no issues in giving him an increment but it is unfair if he wants to claim increments for the work that others have done over the years. He has not fulfilled the incentive but he seems to be wanting increments."
Another board functionary in the know also pointed out: "Johri and the CoA had even unnecessarily attempted to take credit for introducing e-auction while the truth is that they had decided against the e-auction and thereafter certain members of the General Body had questioned the office bearers and the CoA as to why an e-auction was not adopted for the IPL rights. It was only because of that and the application filed in the Supreme Court by Subramaniam Swamy that had put pressure on the CoA to accept the suggestion of the members of the General Body to go ahead with e-auction for the BCCI rights.
"Further, his contract says the executive shall not at any time during his term indulge in any other activity which is prejudicial to the interest of the BCCI or is prejudicial to the image of the game. A Supreme Court hearing is on the cards against the CEO. One of his key responsibilities when he was appointed in 2016 was to inspire and develop the vision, mission and values of the board. What has happened in that area? He was also expected to motivate a high-performing executive team by attracting, retaining and mentoring managers. The less said about his mentoring skills in the wake of what happened last year, the better," the functionary said.
Apart from the salary, he is also entitled to participate in and receive all benefits generally available to executives in the BCCI in accordance with the terms and conditions of the applicable plan or arrangement. On official duty, the board bears the cost of travel, boarding, lodging, conveyance and other related expenses in accordance with BCCI rules.
In a mail sent by the CEO to the CoA, the Amicus Curiae, the CFO and the legal team, Johri had said that he remains the only person in the board who hasn't been paid an increment in the last two years.
"I write this email to urge each one of you to resolve this issue in a time-bound manner, so that the pending dues can be disbursed to me without any further delay. Unfortunately, I am the only employee of the BCCI who has not been provided any increment for the last two years, despite my Employment Agreement providing for the same. We are already nearing the end of third year of my Employment Agreement i.e. 1st June 2018 to 1st May 2019 in respect of which increment will once again become due," he wrote.
"Till date I have not received the decision from the CoA regarding my increment. I have also addressed reminders dated 9th August 2018 and 19th December 2018 requesting for the same. During this time, I have been patient and cooperative with the CoA at every step of the process. I have utmost faith and respect in the institution of the CoA and trust that justice will be meted out to me. Keeping this in mind, I, once again sincerely urge the CoA to look into this issue with utmost priority."
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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