CHENNAI: A day after it emerged that the apex council of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) has issued a showcause notice and suspended its own president, Mohammad Azharuddin, for alleged violation of its constitution, the former India captain has hit back saying a false narrative is being created to attack him.
A slew of allegations was levelled against Azharuddin in the notice, which was signed by HCA secretary R Vijayanand, vice-president K John Manoj, joint secretary Naresh Sharma, treasurer Surender Kumar Agarwal and councillor P Anuradha.
One of the charges is that Azharuddin is guilty of conflict of interest for mentoring a private cricket club in Dubai called Northern Warriors, which competes in the T10 tournament. Rejecting the accusation, the former India captain said that it has nothing to do with the conflict clause.
"It (T10 tournament) is held outside India. The conflict of interest clause applies only in India. This is my livelihood. If I am mentoring, I am doing it for cricket only. I am not doing any other activity," Azharuddin told this daily.
The showcause notice also read that the former India cricketer didn't disclose his association with the Dubai club to either BCCI or HCA, thus falling under the purview of conflict clause.
However, Azharuddin said that he is not bound to inform anybody in this regard. "Is it written in the constitution that I have to inform everything that I do? It's different for players. It's an ICC approved tournament and BCCI comes under ICC. These people can say whatever they like."
The five members of the HCA apex council have been at loggerheads with its president for a long time now. It came out in open recently when these five members of the council projected Shivlal Yadav as HCA's representative for the BCCI's special general meeting held on May 29. However, the Indian cricket board intervened and allowed Azharuddin to attend the SGM.
Making it clear that these people have no option than to toe the line, the stylish batsman of the past said, "They have to work properly, work within the constitution, work within the rules and work for the betterment of cricket rather than for their personal gains."
He also claimed that all these people are under investigation and will soon be brought to book. "The investigation is already done. Now, the lower court has to hear the case as the High Court of Telangana has asked them to go to the lower court and face the trial and prove their innocence. After the investigation, they tried to evade the trial by saying that they do not fall under public servant category, but that doesn't mean they can do corruption."
The appointment of HCA's Ombudsman is also one of the reasons that led to the face-off between the two factions and Azharuddin claimed in a statement released on Thursday that these five members wanted to stall the process as they fear it may expose them.
"After taking over as the president in September 2019, the constitutional mandate required that we fill Ethics & Compliance positions first — the Ombudsman & the Ethics officer. We have done that despite this group of five creating hurdles. Their intention to scuttle the appointment of the Ombudsman might be because of the lurking fear that their multiple clubs acquired through manipulation and fraud will be exposed and they may lose their valuable property, the cash cow that sucks the blood of cricketers from a 14-year-old boy to a 23-year-old youngster aspiring to realize their dreams," read the statement.
Azharuddin also said that the HCA is planning to hold a T20 tournament for all the clubs affiliated to it and waiting for permission from the state government.