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Innocent Admission

Show-cause notice for Azharuddin, head of Hyderabad cricket body

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Hyderabad, June 17, 2021 (Agency) Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president Mohammed Azharuddin has been given a show-cause notice by the association’s apex council for his alleged conflict of interest and other reasons. He has been suspended until an inquiry against him is complete.

The five-page notice also says that Azharuddin’s membership of the HCA also stands cancelled until the inquiry is over. The council has given Azharuddin seven days to reply to the notice, dated June 15.

Among the allegations against Azharuddin, a former India captain, is that he has so far failed to disclose that he was a mentor of a private cricket club in Dubai that allegedly competes in tournaments not recognised by the Indian cricket board, thus raising the conflict of interest issue.

Another allegation is that Azharuddin 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.

Azharuddin held a press conference in Hyderabad on Thursday and alleged that five members of the nine-man HCA apex council — vice-president John Manoj, secretary R. Vijaynanad, joint secretary Naresh Sharma, treasurer Surender Agarwal, and councillor P. Anuradha — have ganged up against him.

“If five members — Sri. John Manoj, Vijayanand, Naresh Sharma, Surender Agarwal & Smt. Anuradha — gang up and call themselves ‘Apex Council’, by what sense of interpretation is it justified? I call it belligerent posturing with scant regard for the rule of law,” said Azharuddin.

Azharuddin retaliated by reminding the corruption case pertaining to the international stadium that the HCA has built in Uppal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh state launched an inquiry into the unusually high cost incurred on 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,” said the former India captain.

“I want the cricket fraternity to know that they are facing law for having indulged in corruption in which the cost of construction of a cricket stadium has been escalated 3.5 times the initial approval, chairs that have been bought at double the market price, kickbacks in solar fencing and every other procurement.”

Azharuddin alleged they took kickbacks in the construction of the stadium.

“They have challenged the procedure on the ground that they are not public servant and by inference, are entitled to swindle the BCCI money through kickbacks generated beginning with project cost escalations and procurement. Appalling to say the least,” he said.

The notice charged Azharuddin of hiding information.

“The fact of you being a mentor has not been communicated to the HCA at any time. It is also apparent that you have not communicated the same to the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India]. Therefore, you being a mentor of an unrecognised tournament comes under the ambit of conflict of interest as envisaged under Rule (38) (III) of the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations 2018 of HCA,” read the notice.

“It is also apparent that your communication to the Canara Bank, where HCA maintains an account that you had deliberately tried to stall all financial transactions and commitments of the HCA and cripple (sic) the apex council from discharging its financial obligations,” it said.

It is claimed that the notice was issued to Azharuddin on June 10 based on complaints made by some HCA members.

“After considering the complaints made by the members against you, it was decided at the apex council meeting on the 10th of this month to issue a show-cause notice on the ground that you have acted in violation of the rules. The apex council is suspending you and your membership of the HCA is being terminated until completion of the inquiry on these complaints,” it said.

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