Hyderabad, July 4 (IANS) The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) Ombudsman on Sunday ordered that Mohammed Azharuddin would continue to be its president, after setting aside a resolution by five office-bearers of the association that had ‘suspended him last month.
The ruling of the HCA Ombudsman, retired justice Deepak Verma, came on a complaint filed by former India captain Azharuddin, challenging the June 15 show cause notice issued to him by five HCA office-bearers — vice-president John Manoj, secretary R. Vijayanand, joint secretary Naresh Sharma, treasurer Surender Agarwal, and councillor P. Anuradha.
The apex council had given a five-page notice to Azharuddin, alleging various acts of misdemeanour, and also cancelled his HCA membership until an inquiry, which they said would be initiated, was over. The council had given Azharuddin seven days to reply to the notice, dated June 15.
In his Sunday’s order, Justice Verma referred to the state of affairs at the HCA as “disturbed circumstances and atmosphere” and wondered whether former Test cricketers who have become members of their respective state cricket associations following certain Supreme Court judgments, could be suspended at all.
“The membership of such distinguished personalities is in effect an honorary permanent membership and as such cannot be taken away on the behest of a few members of an apex council,” read the order.
“…he [Azharuddin] has further complained that he was suspended only as a counterblast to his various objections to the kind of functioning by the other office-bearers and cited various details,” it said.
Justice Verma said Azharuddin would continue as the HCA president.
“Therefore, I deem it appropriate to set aside the resolution (if any) passed by these five members in suspending the duly elected president, issuing a show cause notice, and direct them to refrain from any subsequent actions against the president of HCA, Shri Mohd. Azharuddin. Therefore, I direct that Sh. Mohd. Azharuddin shall continue as president and all complaints against office-bearers shall only be decided by the Ombudsman,” he said in his order.
“From the aforesaid facts and features, it is clearly reflected that instead of encouraging the game of cricket, each one is playing their (sic) own politics for the reasons best known to them. Thus, it defeats the very purpose for which HCA has been formed,” read the order.
Among the allegations levelled against Azharuddin is that he had failed to disclose that he was a mentor of a private cricket club in Dubai that allegedly competes in tournaments not recognised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, thus raising a conflict of interest issue.
Another allegation is that Azharuddin had tried to stall all the financial transactions and commitments of the HCA by sending a letter to the Canara Bank with which the association has an account.
After his suspension, Azharuddin on June 17 had held a press conference in Hyderabad and alleged that the same five members of the nine-man HCA apex council had ganged up against him.
Azharuddin had also recalled a corruption case pertaining to the international stadium that the HCA had built in Uppal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The Anti-Corruption Bureau of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state had launched an inquiry into the unusually high cost incurred on building the stadium.
“We are also aware that four of these members were named in a charge-sheet outlining allegations of severe corruption. All their attempts to escape the arm of law by adopting technical strategies have been defeated and very soon, justice will prevail,” Azharuddin had said.