Ombudsman reinstates Azharuddin as HCA Chief

Former India captain Mohammed Azharuddin will continue to serve as the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), the Ombudsman has ordered that 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 Azharuddin, challenging the June 15 show cause notice issued to him by the five HCA office-bearers.

The five office-bearers were vice-president John Manoj, secretary R. Vijayanand, joint secretary Naresh Sharma, treasurer Surender Agarwal, and councillor P. Anuradha.

Earlier, the apex council had given a five-page notice to the former cricketer alleging acts of misdemeanour.

It had also cancelled his HCA membership until an inquiry, which they said would be initiated, was over and 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.

Meanwhile, justice Verma further said that Azharuddin will remain as the chief of the HCA.

“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.

The allegations against Azharuddin was 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 was that the former India captain 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.

News Desk

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