HCA fails once again to take call on Justice Verma as Ombudsman

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

Hyderabad: As expected, the contentious issue of the appointment of an Ombudsman and Ethics Officer for the Hyderabad Cricket Association remained without inconclusive when the second part of the AGM was held on Sunday. The President Mohammed Azharuddin and his office bearers including Vice President John Manoj and Secretary R. Vijayanand have failed to reach an agreement on the issue.

It now remains to be seen how the story will unfold in the near future. There is a possibility that the matter may get further bogged down in court cases and legal squabbling.

Today’s AGM saw yet one more day of arguments and counter charges ending in acrimony. Both parties held firmly to their stand. President Mohammed Azharuddin announced that Justice (Rtd) Deepak Verma will be the ombudsman. Azhar reiterated that as the President of the HCA, it was up to him to take a call on the naming of the Ombudsman who should be considered.

Speaking to siasat.com Azharuddin stated that his stand was completely clear. “At the Apex Council meeting held earlier, there was only one name for the post of Ombudsman and that was of Justice Verma. The name was put forth at the meeting and was agreed upon. There was no second name. If you (his rivals) had another name you could have brought it forward. Why didn’t you do so? Later why have you gone and brought up other names after everything was agreed upon?” he said.

“In this case the Apex Council has made one recommendation that was Justice Verma. Since his name is the only one that fulfills the eligibility criteria for recommendation, I hereby give a ruling that the name of Justice Verma is the only name put forward for the post. There are no other names,” stated Azharuddin.

Azhar also spoke about the lapses that have been pointed out by the High Court and stated that those who opposed the court’s orders should be ashamed. “They are bringing shame to our state and to the sport of cricket. Whatever I am doing is for the good of the game. I have no love for this post. I want to run the game in a clear and transparent manner so that Hyderabad cricket regains the standing that it once had,” said the former India captain.

But Azhar’s stand was contested by Vice President Mr. John Manoj. Speaking to siasat.com Manoj said : “The President is just a figurehead. As per the constitution of the HCA it is the AGM which must take a final call on the issue. Azharuddin did not want the matter to go to a vote. He announced the meeting was closed and walked away,” said Manoj.

“Just about 10 to 12 people were shouting to have Justice Verma. The total attendees were about 160. The majority were not in favour of Justice Verma. But Azharuddin walked off. He did not want any voting,” said Manoj.

“So when he walked off, as Vice President, I was asked by the Apex Council to take the meeting forward to its conclusion. We had to decide on the Tournament Committee, Technical Committee, Cricket Advisory Committee, Junior Selection Committee and the Talent Committee. We did all that and closed with a vote of thanks,” he said.
“Also after deliberations we have decided to appoint Justice Nissar Ahmed Kakru as Ombudsman and Justice Meena Kumari as Ethics Officer after obtaining their consent. Now we will contact both of them and seek their agreement to take up the post in the HCA. As soon as they give their approval, their appointment will begin,” Manoj clarified.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.