Mohd Azharuddin vows to contest as HCA Prez again, day after SC overhaul report

The Supreme Court-appointed administrator of HCA, barred 57 clubs from contesting or casting their vote in the HCA elections due to conflict of interest.

Mohammed Azharuddin

HYDERABAD: Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin on Tuesday announced that he would contest for the post of Hyderabad Cricket Association’s (HCA) President for a second term and promised to eliminate deep-rooted corruption in the governing body.

Azharuddin, announcing his candidature for another term came a day after Retired Justice L Nageswara Rao, the Supreme Court-appointed administrator of HCA, barred 57 clubs from contesting or casting their vote in the HCA elections due to conflict of interest. The elections are likely to be held next month.

Azharuddin was appointed HCA president in 2019 but his term, which ended with Rao’s appointment earlier this year, was impacted by infighting within the HCA Apex Council and court cases.

If elected to power again, the former India skipper vowed to lift HCA from the shadows of corruption.

“I will fight the election which is expected to be held by September 15. I am very happy this has happened (bar on clubs) as the situation was prevailing for the last 14 years. The association was not being allowed to work (due to the club nexus). Now the association will improve a lot.

“I am not the owner of any club. As an international player I am allowed to contest the election,” Azharuddin said.

In a groundbreaking move to address the issue of conflict of interest in Hyderabad cricket, all existing executive committee members of the 57 clubs affiliated to the HCA, were barred on Monday from participating in the upcoming HCA election, preventing them from voting or contesting.

Although the election dates have not been announced yet, the one-man committee appointed by the Supreme Court in February, headed by Justice Rao, aimed at resolving the chaotic situation within the HCA and facilitating fair elections, would now appoint a returning officer who will determine the election schedule.

Justice Rao's damning 46-page report shed light on the issue of individuals and families holding multiple clubs, leading to a rampant conflict of interest within the HCA. Justice Rao's report clearly outlined the restrictions on the current office bearers and executive committee members of these clubs, stating that they were barred from contesting in the forthcoming elections for the Apex Council of HCA or casting their vote for office bearers of HCA. This restriction would be in effect for one term of office bearers or a period of three years, whichever was longer.

To further address the conflict of interest concerns, Justice Rao stated that no individual or their immediate family members, including parents, spouse, siblings, children, and their spouses, could be part of the executive committee of more than one club. “Any deviation from this rule will be dealt with severely, with the HCA having the authority to take action, including expulsion of the club's membership,” stated the report.

The report specifically mentioned four out of the six elected HCA office-bearers who were removed from their positions when the Supreme Court appointed a Supervisory Committee to manage the HCA affairs. These individuals, including K John Manoj (HCA vice-president), R Vijayanand (HCA secretary), Surender Kumar Agarwal (HCA treasurer), and P Anuradha (councillor), were found to be involved in multiple clubs, leading to a conflict of interest.

Apart from the HCA office-bearers, former India spinner and ex-HCA president Arshad Ayub, along with his wife, son, and daughter, were also found to be impacted by the conflict-of-interest issue. The clubs affected by this conflict include Ensconce Cricket Club, Hyderabad Wanderers Cricket Club, and Green Turf Cricket Club.

While cricketers associated with the 57 barred clubs would not be affected, the clubs would have to make changes in their Executive Committee to resolve any existing or potential conflicts of interest. They would be allowed to participate in HCA leagues and other competitive matches after fulfilling the necessary conditions.

Justice Rao highlighted the seriousness of conflict of interest in cricket, emphasizing that multiple memberships in clubs could lead to possible corruption and match manipulation. He further mentioned that owning more than one club had been banned worldwide across multiple sports.

To address the issue of conflict of interest in Hyderabad cricket, Justice Rao issued notices to all 206 clubs affiliated with the HCA, leading to the discovery of massive conflict of interest and manipulation amongst the clubs.

The term of the HCA's previously elected Apex Council ended on 26 September, 2022, and the Supreme Court appointed Justice Rao as the Single Member Committee to ensure fair and proper elections for the Apex Council and to administer the association's affairs.

As the election process is expected to be completed by mid-September, it is vital to address the conflict of interest concerns promptly, especially with Hyderabad hosting three World Cup matches in October. The HCA aims to restore credibility and uphold the spirit of fair play in cricket through transparent and unbiased elections.

HCA office bearers and clubs impacted as per report

K John Manoj (HCA vice-president)

“K John Manoj is Secretary of St Andrews Cricket Club holds indirect control over Marredpally Colts Cricket Club simultaneously. Moreover, it was admitted by him that his daughter, Ms Trishala John, is the secretary of Marredpally Colts Cricket Club,” said the report.

Clubs impacted:

East Marredpally Cricket Club

St Andrews Cricket Club

Marredpally Colts Cricket Club

Kosaraju Cricket Club

R Vijayanand (HCA secretary)

“Further, in the submissions of Abhinav Colts Cricket Club, it is admittedly clarified that the current secretary, Mr Abhinav Dayanand Rupla, is the son of Mr R Vijayanand, who was the secretary of HCA and is currently the secretary of Dayanand Cricket Club,” read the report.

Clubs impacted:

Abhinav Colts Cricket Club

Dayanand Cricket Club

Surender Kumar Agarwal (HCA treasurer)

“It was further revealed that president of Agarwal Seniors Cricket Club, Ms Arushi Agarwal is the wife of Devashish Agarwal who is the present president of Hyderabad Titans Cricket Club; Mr Akshit Agarwal who appeared in the capacity of secretary of Akshit Cricket Club is the son of Mr Surender Kumar Agarwal, secretary of Shri Shyam Cricket Club (formerly known as P&T Colony Cricket Club) and Ms Vanitha Agarwal who is the present president of Akshit Cricket Club and treasurer of Jai Bhagwathi Cricket Club [who is related to] Ghanshyamdas Agarwal, secretary of Agarwal Seniors Cricket Club (father of Surender Kumar Agarwal, Pradeep Kumar Agarwal, Sudeep Kumar Agarwal, and Sandeep Kumar Agarwal). On further inquiry, it was also found that Mr Sunil Agarwal, the joint secretary of Jai Bhagwathi Cricket Club is also the secretary of Reliance Cricket Club,” says the report.

Clubs impacted:

Akshit Cricket Club

Jai Bhagwathi Cricket Club

Reliance Cricket Club

Shri Shyam Cricket Club (formerly P&T Colony Cricket Club)

P Anuradha (councillor)

“Ms P. Anuradha who appeared as the current secretary of Shanti Associates. There is a direct conflict of interest between all three clubs. It was also admitted by Ms. Anuradha that she is the wife of Mr. P. Yadagiri [HCA treasurer from 1998-10],” the report mentions. “Further, Mr. P. Yadagiri also appeared on behalf of P. Krishnamurthy Memorial Cricket Club. He claims that the secretary of the Club, Mr. Pallemoni Sushant is his son. Such admission is indicative of the existence of clear conflict of interest with the other clubs belonging to the family of M.P. Yadagiri.”

Clubs impacted:

New Stars Cricket Club

Swastik Cricket Club

Shanti Associates Cricket Club

P Krishnamurthy Memorial Cricket Club

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