Kohli Also Tangled In Conflict Of Interest Matters

By Staff Writer on July 9, 2020

In a letter addressed to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) ethics office-cum-ombudsman Justice (retd) DK Jain and other BCCI executives, Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta argues that the India Captain Virat Kohli’s position in two business ventures are in violation of the BCCI’s constitution.

The complaint was filed on July 4, 2020; it refers to Kohli’s co-directors at Virat Kohli Sports (LLP) and Cornerstone Venture Partners (LLP). These persons are also directors at Cornerstone Sports and Entertainment Private Limited; the latter, an agency that handles commercial interests of various Indian cricketers.

This agency also manages KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, and Kohli himself.

Kohli Conflict of Interest “Blatant violation to BCCI Rule”

In the letter, Gupta says that Kohli is currently occupying two posts, which is in “blatant violation to BCCI Rule 38(4) approved by Supreme Court of India”

According to Rule 38(4), the BCCI constitution prohibits individuals from holding more than one of the 16 posts. This conflict of interest was part of the Lodha Committee recommendations which came into effect on 9th August 2018. In these Lodha recommendations, there are five different forms that include direct/indirect interest, compromised roles, commercial conflicts, prior relationships, or positions of influence.

Kohli’s position as India captain as well as co-directors of these two companies puts him in danger of violation of “Commercial conflicts”

Cornerstone responds

The CEO of Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment Private Limited Bunty Sajdeh quashed any likelihood of conflict of interest.

According to an official media release, Sajdeh said his organization carried out business in a “professional and transparent manner”, and requested third parties to “check facts before jumping to conclusions.”

Ethics Officer to examine Kohli Conflict of Interest

BCCI’s Ethics Officer Jain said he will probe the conflict of interest. Jain, who was a Supreme Court judge between 2006 and 2013, will decide if a case can be made out. And based on his decision, he will give the Indian captain an opportunity to respond appropriately.

In the past, Gupta has also filed such complaints against former India cricketers Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, and VVS Laxman. The court eventually cleared the cricketers of any wrongdoing.

Kohli himself is yet to give his response to the allegations. In recent news, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has also faced similar accusations.