BCCI ombudsman summons Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul

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KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya have a chat after the game (BCCI)

Justice DK Jain, the BCCI ombudsman, has issued notices to the pair of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, asking them to be present for hearings in the controversy related to their remarks on an Indian TV chat show recently. The hearings will take place in Mumbai, with Pandya’s scheduled on April 9 and Rahul’s the next day.

This is the first issue Justice Jain, who was appointed by the Supreme Court in February, will adjudicate on.

Justice Jain told ESPNcricinfo that as part of the process of natural justice, he had to hear both players before adjudicating on the matter.

Asked whether the players had confirmed their attendance, Justice Jain said that was not needed, but it was important for him to listen to what they had to say. “I have sent them the notice. It is for them to appear or not,” he said. “It is part of natural justice. You cannot hold someone guilty without having given them the opportunity to present their case.”

The timing of the hearings is a concern for the IPL franchises of the two players – Mumbai Indians (Pandya) and Kings XI Punjab (Rahul). Incidentally, Mumbai will host Kings XI in an evening match on April 10, so it remains to be seen whether Rahul will feature in that game.

Justice Jain said there was no deadline given to him by the BCCI to take a final decision. However, both the Indian team management as well the national selectors would want clarity keeping in mind the World Cup, the squad for which will be picked around April 25 with the tournament starting on May 30.

Both Pandya and Rahul had been suspended by the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators in January over their offensive remarks on the television show ‘Koffee with Karan’, which was aired on January 9. The two players, who were in Australia at the time, were called back home and suspended two days later. Subsequently, on January 24, the suspension was provisionally lifted pending an inquiry. (ESPNCricinfo)

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