Ex-judge bars biggies from HCA elections

Hyderabad: In an effort to cleanse the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), whose reputation is at a historic low, and free it, at least on paper, from the clutches of a few individuals, former Supreme Court judge Justice L. Nageswara Rao has debarred representatives of about 80 cricket clubs from contesting the HCA executive committee elections for a term.

Though the office bearers or executive committee members of these 80 clubs are barred for contesting or voting in the elections, the cricketers representing these clubs should not be adversely affected, Justice Rao (retd) said in his order, copies of which are made available in the public domain on Monday.

Having arrived at the electoral college, Justice Rao will appoint an election officer which will mark the beginning of the poll process. “My job is done. An election officer will be appointed tomorrow (Tuesday) itself and he will issue notification within a week,” he told Deccan Chronicle.

All the bigwigs including Purushottam Agarwal and several of his family members together controlling seven clubs, former cricketers Arshad Ayub and Vanka Pratap, secretary of the outgoing committee R. Vijayanand, vice-president K. John Manoj, 1983 World Cup team manager P.R. Man Singh, T. Seshnarayan, P. Yadagiri and coach G. Sudarshan Raju were disqualified from contesting the polls. Other contentious names like G. Vivekanand and N. Shivlal Yadav escaped the dragnet as they are not members of such clubs.

Besides having absolute control over the cricketing body for decades for decades many of these bigwigs had been facing corruption charges and being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“Our stand got vindicated. We have been complaining about a few corrupt people holding the sport to ransom and doing injustice to genuine players particularly from rural Telangana,” said D. Gurava Reddy, president of Telangana Cricket Association which has been fighting for BCCI recognition.

Referring to an interim report submitted by the Supervisory Committee to the apex court, Justice Rao observed that multiple membership of clubs led to players, matches or tournaments being exposed to possible corruption through match manipulation.

The former SC judge made it clear that no individual or his immediate family members like parents, spouse, siblings, spouses of siblings, children and spouses of children shall be part of the executive committee of more than one club.

Justice Rao also put to rest the ownership claims of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) over 18 clubs which its officials argued were transferred to private persons unauthorisedly sometime ago. Members of the Supervisory Committee including state officials backing outgoing president Mohammad Azharuddin made use of these claims to delay the HCA polls. After failing to prove ownership, the GHMC withdrew its claims before the single man committee.

Welcoming the move, Azharuddin tweeted that he was immensely satisfied to see the first concrete step taken by Justice Rao to set the electoral college on track by suspending members who owned multiple clubs. “The unceasing pursuit to remove the bogus votes who had crawled into the system changing club names has seen the first ray of light with the order,” he said.

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