A trip to Bhutan to survey "soil and cricketing equipment" has landed BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary in a spot of bother as the COA has show-caused him, questioning the very "need of his presence" there. Chaudhary has been asked to respond to the notice by July 4 on two specific counts. Firstly, "What was the justification for the visit to Bhutan? No prior proposal/ justification is seen in the records. No invitation/record could be provided by the office, excepting the rather abrupt e-mail attached on how the proposal originated. Secondly, "Why was the approval of the Committee of Administrators not taken prior to your visit to Bhutan along with your Executive Assistant when you have done so in the past?"
The COA has also questioned Chaudhary's frequent foreign trips and domestic travel, which is significantly more than BCCI treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry and acting president CK Khanna.
COA was briefed by BCCI AGM (Cricket Operations) KVP Rao that the trip was meant to survey availability of cricket equipment, suitability of the clay/soil for preparation of pitches. But the explanation hasn't gone down well with the COA.
"All these functions are technical in nature and could well have been done only by the curator and the AGM Cricket Operations. The need for your presence and indeed the presence of your Executive Assistant on this visit is not apparent," stated the mail, which is in possession of PTI.
The COA has also asked Chaudhary the need for 32 days of overseas travel when acting president Khanna and treasurer Aniruddh didn't even make a single trip abroad in the current financial year. Also domestically, during this phase, the acting secretary has travelled for 110 days, compared to 69 by the treasurer and 32 by the president, something that the COA described as a "disparity".
"It is telling that you alone, among the three office-bearers, have undertaken 32 days of foreign travel in barely five and a half months of the current calendar when the other two have not travelled abroad at all. Also under the COA scanner is the ICC's decision to replace the 50-over Champions Trophy in India in 2021 by a more lucrative World T20 during a quarterly meet in Kolkata, which Chaudhary attended.
It is learnt that Chaudhary didn't raise any objection at the board meet when the proposal was tabled. ICC Chief executive Dave Richardson had said that the replacement got unanimous support.