'I am the BCCI president and well within my rights to watch a tournament. I don't see anything illegal happening. Have I committed any crime?'
In a shift from their much-publicised stance, the Committee of Administrators (COA) has sanctioned a 10-day trip of acting Board of Control for Cricket in India president CK Khanna to watch the upcoming Asia Cup in UAE, starting September 15.
While there had been a convention of senior BCCI office-bearers travelling for tournaments at Board's expense, the COA, in one of its directives, had made it clear that unless the acting president, acting secretary, treasurer or CEO are doing board's work, no tours will be sanctioned.
Accordingly, acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and CEO Rahul Johri's UK trip was cut short by the COA even though they had gone for ICC meeting in Dublin in May.
The officials wanted to watch a couple of India matches but were ticked off by the COA in no uncertain terms that if there is no work, there is no need to hang around.
In fact, the COA has time and again raised questions about Amitabh's foreign trips and per diem (daily allowance) of US$ 750 (Rs 53,000 per day approx).
However, with Khanna's trip being cleared for the upcoming Asia Cup, the questions that are being asked in BCCI headquarters is that COA is applying different yardsticks for different people.
"Amitabh Chaudhary is Indian board's representative at the Asian Cricket Council. His expenses are entirely being borne by the ACC and he is going to be there for at the maximum three days. There are seven BCCI staffers who are going there purely for work and helping out in smooth conduct of the tournament. Their expenses are also being borne by the ACC," a senior BCCI official said.
"Our only question to COA is what is the purpose of BCCI president's visit? Since they have only issued directive that barring official work, no office bearer should undertake any travelling assignment," the official questioned.
Khanna, in his defence, said that there are no such rules that can prevent him from watching Asia Cup.
"Firstly, I have not decided on my date of travel. Secondly, these are all false allegations that this is a joy trip. I am the BCCI president and well within my rights to watch a tournament. I don't see anything illegal happening. Have I committed any crime?" Khanna added.
It is learnt that COA has agreed to sanction Khanna's trip as he has travelled the least among the three office bearers. The only time he travelled overseas was during the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
With the BCCI elections tentatively scheduled to be held in the last week of November, the Asia Cup will be the last official foreign trip for Khanna in his capacity as the acting president.