‘A Cop in Cricket’ by Neeraj Kumar: Assurance of clean chit : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

‘A Cop in Cricket’ by Neeraj Kumar: Assurance of clean chit

‘A Cop in Cricket’ by Neeraj Kumar: Assurance of clean chit

A cop in cricket by Neeraj Kumar. Juggernaut. Pages 191. Rs 599

Book Title: A cop in cricket

Author: Neeraj Kumar

Rohit Mahajan

As India’s top wrestlers agitate for action against Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh for allegedly sexually harassing female wrestlers, it would be instructive to understand exactly how men in positions of power conspire to sweep such complaints under the carpet.

In this book, an exposé of the ‘rot in Indian cricket’, Neeraj Kumar purports to reveal how this was done in the Indian cricket board (BCCI) — with the complicity of the nation’s self-anointed ‘conscience keeper’, Vinod Rai, a former Comptroller General of India.

Neeraj Kumar, former Commissioner of Police, Delhi, joined the BCCI in 2015 as the chief adviser to its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. Three years later, he chanced upon a case of sexual harassment in BCCI when he noticed that a female staffer who had been assisting him on travel logistics had ‘abruptly’ proceeded on ‘long leave’. When she joined work, she told Kumar she had been sexually harassed for ‘quite some time’ by then BCCI CEO Rahul Johri. She had tendered her resignation, but was asked to wait by Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), the Supreme Court-appointed panel to run BCCI.

The woman narrated her ordeal to Rai and Diana Eduljee, another CoA member, in February 2018. Kumar writes that a ‘couple of days’ later, he asked Rai what had become of the complaint; he saw Rai ‘squirm in his chair’ and respond that he had ‘nothing in writing from the woman’. Kumar got her to file a written complaint to CoA. ‘Nothing came out of it,’ he writes. Why? ‘Apparently, Johri gave a written apology to the woman employee after a teary display of his repentance,’ he says. Eduljee later said that ‘if it was not for me, the poor complainant would not have even received her apology letter from Rahul Johri’. And what about the personal conscience of the ‘nation’s conscience keeper’? It was the Dhritrashtra effect — father blind to the sins of the son, Kumar alleges. He writes the relationship between Rai and Johri was akin to a ‘father-son’ bond, and Rai ‘didn’t wish to hear anything against his prodigal son’.

After this, at the height of the MeToo movement, another complaint of sexual harassment surfaced against Johri, dating back to his stint with Discovery Channel. This time, the BCCI formed an inquiry committee — including a retired high court judge — to look into the allegations.

Kumar observes that the attitude of the committee was not conducive to honest inquiry, but ‘belligerent and acerbic’. Women who deposed before the committee were not allowed to cross-examine Johri; they were not given reports or statements. Why would a woman complainant, already traumatised, wish to depose before such a committee? Johri was given a clean chit.

In an interview, Eduljee said: ‘Looking at the way the independent committee worked, it was very clear that he (Johri) would get away.’ This, Kumar writes, is how predators escape, with the kindness of men in power.