Azhar edged out of HCA, John Manoj made interim chief

Hyderabad: Push has come to shove in the Hyderabad Cricket Association, and the Apex Council dislodged its president Mohammed Azharuddin and appointed vice-president John Manoj as interim chief on Friday.

Five members of the Apex Council — secretary R. Vijayanand, John Manoj himself, joint secretary Naresh Sharma, treasurer Surender Agarwal and councillor P. Anuradha — who had been at loggerheads with Azharuddin decided to instal the vice-president as the head while placing the former Indian captain under suspension for his refusal to reply to the showcause notice served on June 10. Azharuddin was issued the notice for serving a notice on the five, against the rules.

“The Apex Council has appointed me interim president and I will carry out the duties in tune with the constitution, which is sacred,” John Manoj told this newspaper on Friday.

“According to the rule book, power is vested in the Apex Council and not any individual. Azharuddin has been taking independent decisions and terming our meetings illegal without attending them,” he said.

He sought to quote the HCA constitution, which says: “Five members of the Apex Council shall form a quorum for its meetings. The President or in his absence the Vice President or in the absence of both a member elected by those present at the meeting shall be the Chairperson. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson shall have a casting vote.”

The nine-member Apex Council consists of the president, vice president, secretary, joint secretary, treasurer, councillor, male and female players representatives and a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

John Manoj claimed the former Indian batsman did not play by the rules. “The Association has to be governed by the Apex Council. In what capacity did Azharuddin issue us Show Cause Notices?” he asked, adding they did reply to them though.

Azhar contends that a majority of the office-bearers are tainted, facing corruption charges in courts. An enquiry is pending against them by the HCA ombudsman, the appointment of whom is the bone of contention. While Azharuddin declared Justice Deepak Verma appointed by a show of hands at the April annual general body meeting (AGM) before closing the meeting without completing the agenda, the rival faction continued the meeting and made their own appointments, which Azharuddin terms illegal.

The appointment has since been challenged and “the matter is in Supreme Court,” John Manoj said.

The April AGM was already deferred, a first in HCA history, after members could not agree on the appointment of the ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Suneel Kante as CEO has been challenged by Prakash Chand Jain, secretary of Evergreen Cricket Club, before the the III Additional Civil Judge  in the Ranga Reddy court. The matter was heard and the case posted for hearing next week with notice to the president, secretary of HCA as well as the BCCI.

Prakash contends that Kante’s appointment is against applicable rules and the mandate of Supreme Court, which says the CEO shall be a management professional with management experience of at least five years as MD/CEO of a company with a turnover of at least `100 crore.

John Manoj refuted this charge. “Due process was followed in the appointment of the CEO, who has a sports background and has worked in top companies in the US and UK. He has been corresponding with the BCCI too,” he said.


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