India's #MeToo moment

#MeToo: CoA seeks explanation from BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri over sexual harassment charges

Rahul Johri. File   | Photo Credit: BCCI

The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), created to run the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has sought a written explanation within a week from the BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri, after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced on social media on Saturday against him.

“There are certain media reports today, including in the social media, pertaining to Mr. Rahul Johri, CEO BCCI. The reports disclose allegations of sexual harassment made against Mr. Johri, by an unnamed person through a twitter handle. The allegations also relates to his previous employment with a large media house. The allegations have appeared as a part of the “me too” movement,” said a statement issued on behalf of the two-member CoA consisting of former Comptroller & Auditor General Vinod Rai and former India Women captain Diana Edulji.

“Though, the said allegations do not pertain to his employment with the BCCI, the Committee of Administrators of the BCCI has deemed it appropriate to seek an explanation from Mr. Johri in relation to the allegations. He has been asked to submit his explanation within a week. Future course of action will be considered on receipt of his explanation.”

With the #MeToo movement spreading beyond the media and entertainment industries, late on Friday night, a verified Twitter user released screenshots of an alleged victim who preferred to remain anonymous about how Mr. Johri, “a friend”, sexually exploited her. The screenshots of an email allege that under the guise of an interview, Mr. Johri took the woman to his home in Gurgaon without informing her that his wife was not at home, before imposing himself on her.

“Till date, I've borne the burden of this sordid incident, blaming myself for this – I have wondered if I had showed that I was needy, I don't think so but I don't think so – it's all hazy and confused in my head. I have cursed myself for bringing it upon myself. For years, I have told myself – that was so cheap of me – but the truth is – it was so sudden and so manipulated that I had no chance at even knowing what the hell this was. I have only had shame for myself for this incident especially; never ever mentioned it to anyone for fear of shame and have been guilty of this even though it was not really my fault,” the victim wrote.

After working for a variety of media houses, including a prolonged stint at the helm of Discovery India, Mr. Johri took over as the first professional chief executive of the BCCI in June 2016. While the BCCI has been entangled in a legal muddle ever since, thanks to the much-delayed administrative reforms and sidelined office-bearers, Mr. Johri has emerged as the most vital cog in the BCCI's administrative wheel ever since.

Interestingly, the CoA was last month alleged to have not acted against a sexual harassment complaint against a senior BCCI employee in February 2018. Aditya Verma, the petitioner in the IPL corruption scandal that led to administrative overhaul in the BCCI, had sent three emails last month to Mr. Rai, urging him to act against the complaint.

“Did it not move you when you came to know that an employee who was working so passionately in preparation for the IPL 2018 season, abruptly resigned with immediate effect on the 12th of February 2018?” Mr. Verma wrote.

“At the risk of repetition, I wish to state that once the employee had given you the complaint, you could not have dealt with it yourself and the only option available to you was to forward the same to the Local Complaints Committee since the BCCI did not have any Internal Complaints Committee then.”

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 12:40:25 PM |

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