New Delhi: The independent inquiry committee appointed to look into the #MeToo allegations against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, was in a split verdict on Wednesday.

While the panel comprising Justice (Retd) Rakesh Sharma and former Delhi Commission of Women chairperson Barkha Singh gave Johri a clean chit, even calling him "innocent” and terming the allegations as “mischievous and fabricated”, lawyer-activist Veena Gowda recommended that he be made to “undergo some form of gender sensitivity counselling/training,” based on the statements of the complainants and their allegations of sexual harassment against him.

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On the other hand, the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) member Diana Edulji recommended that Johri be asked to resign but the chief of COA, Vinod Rai wanted him to rejoin office and hence the final verdict to let Johri back into the BCCI wasn't unanimous.

Right from the beginning, Edulji stood her ground rejecting the idea of forming the 'independent committee' and demanded Johri to be removed from his position as the CEO.

Edulji is unconvinced that Rai, who doesn't have a casting vote and is only first amongst equals, can overrule her for being the chairman of the COA. Since the recommendations of the three panel members are also split by a vote of 2:1, Johri should not have been allowed to rejoin immediately if not sacked.

According to reports, Rai insisted the statement to be issued at the earliest and due to paucity of time, Edulji has not been able to go through the entire report.

She alluded to the finding in Gowda’s recommendations to the effect that as a CEO of an institution such as BCCI, the 'unprofessional and inappropriate conduct' of Johri would adversely affect the reputation of the Indian cricket board.

Edulji is supposed to go through the entire report and consult amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium soon and the matter is set to be heard in the Supreme Court on November 27.

Former Delhi commissioner of police and BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) chief Neeraj Kumar, who had deposed before the committee on an earlier complaint by a BCCI staffer, tweeted minutes after Johri got the clean chit, “I told you so #bcciinquiry6committee”.

Keeping in mind the COA’s 2:1 split verdict and most importantly, the charges against Johri, it is very clear that Johri is being protected by Rai and other influential political persons involved in Indian cricket indirectly.

Also, one cannot ignore the previous incidents of disgrace to the BCCI as raised by Gowda, because of Johri’s 'unprofessional and  inappropriate’ behaviour during a Champions Trophy match in Birmingham. Since Rai’s vote counted for more and Johri returned to office on Wednesday evening, the decision can be totally considered to be biased.