The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Committe of Administrators has lifted the suspensions on India cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul with immediate effect pending the appointment and adjudication of allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman.
This announcement comes two weeks after they were sent home from the tour of Australia due to their sexist comments on celebrity talk show "Koffee with Karan" hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar.
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In a press release issued on Thursday evening, the COA which is headed by Vinod Rai, stated that the decision has been taken with the concurrence of Amicus Curiae, PS Narasimha.
The decision to lift the suspension is pending an inquiry, for which an ombudsman is to be appointed by the Supreme Court. The apex court has listed the matter tentatively for February 5.
"The Committee of Administrators (“CoA”) had, by emails dated 11.01.2019, and in exercise of Rule 41(6) of the Constitution of BCCI, suspended Mr. Hardik Pandya and Mr. K.L. Rahul in view of the allegations of misconduct against them, pending adjudication of the allegations under Rule 46 of the approved BCCI Constitution," the COA said.
"Since the adjudication of all allegations of misconduct against any cricketer registered with, inter alia, the BCCI is required to be undertaken by the BCCI Ombudsman, whose appointment is pending directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the CoA is the of the view that the interim suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 should be presently lifted with immediate effect.
"The above matter and decision has been taken with the concurrence of the Learned Amicus Curiae, Mr. P.S. Narasimha. In view of the above, the suspension orders dated 11.01.2019 is immediately lifted pending appointment and adjudication of the allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman," it added.
Pandya is now expected to join the team in New Zealand while Rahul might play in either domestic circuit or show up for India A in an ongoing home series against England Lions.
While Diana Edulji wanted the BCCI office-bearers to be involved in deciding the fate of the two cricketers, COA chief Vinod Rai had dismissed the suggestion as it would have been in violation of the Board constitution.
The COA said the decision to suspend the two players was taken under "Rule 46 of the approved BCCI Constitution", which covers players' conduct that can bring the Board into disrepute.
The idea of letting the players get on with the game was first mooted by BCCI acting president CK Khanna, who wanted the suspensions to be lifted pending inquiry.
Pandya and Rahul's crass comments on the show "Koffee With Karan", where they spoke about hooking up with multiple women, were criticised by one and all.
(With PTI Inputs)