Chairman of the junior selection panel Venkatesh Prasad has been pulled up by BCCI Ombudsman Justice AP Shah, after an anonymous complaint alleging conflict of interest. According to the complaint Prasad was part of a cricket academy in Bangalore, and this conflicted with his role as selector.
After an ‘anonymous’ complaint against the former bowling coach of the Indian team, Justice AP Shah ruled that Prasad will have to choose between running his academy or continuing as the chief of the junior selection panel. The complaint said that the former Karnataka seamer, ran a cricket academy called the 'SLS Academy for Cricket Excellence’ in partnership with former state team-mate Sujith Somasunder in Bangalore. ToI has reported that Prasad has withdrawn his stake in the academy.
A copy of the order from Justice Shah is available on the website, and reads, "A notice was issued to Prasad on May 14. In his reply, Prasad admitted that SLS Academy is owned and managed by a company, 'Starting Line Sports and Education Private Ltd,' co-founded and co-promoted by him along with Somasunder in 2014. Prasad stated that he still owns 50% of the shareholding of the company. He then went on to clarify that he was nominated as a BCCI selector only subsequently, in November 2015, after which he had not participated in any coaching assignment at the academy. Further, he stated that he does not have any management or operational roles in the company or the academy at present, nor does he provide coaching or training services in the academy."
The order then goes on to mention that Prasad was found to be violating Rule 2(C) of the BCCI ‘Rules of Conflict of Interest’. The rule says that retired cricketers who are appointed as coaches of Indian teams or national selectors should not be associated with any private coaching academies during their term.
Justice Shah has decided on around 55 ‘conflict of interest’ complaints in India cricket, ever since his term began in November 2015. Among those served notices were Sourav Ganguly, CAB President, Brijesh Patel, president of Karnataka cricket association, and Arshad Ayub, president of Hyderabad cricket association.
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