Saturday, June 22, 2024

SC panel detects huge membership fraud in HCA

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Supreme Court-appointed Supervisory Committee reveals startling factsDeepika Pasham

Hyderabad

The Supervisory Committee appointed by the Supreme Court has unearthed a deep rooted membership fraud in the Hyderabad Cricket Association. The report revealed startling facts like that there is no record of memberships, no documentary evidence on how the electoral roll of HCA was drawn up in 2019 by the election officer.

The third point mentioned in the report said that some  members own 7–8 clubs and are subverting democratic norms by using their votes to manipulate the Apex Council and to blackmail all institutionalised processes provided by the Justice Lodha Committee’s reforms incorporated in the by-laws to manipulate selections to state teams, the buying and selling of teams, leasing of cricket teams under their control to brokers who pose as cricket lovers in Hyderabad for lakhs of rupees. These brokers, in turn, fleece cricket players’ parents and make them pay thousands of rupees every year to buy an opportunity for their child to play in the league matches hosted by the HCA.

The committee also noted that there is an imbalanced democracy in HCA, which is recognised by the BCCI as the sole representative of the cricket game in Telangana. This is because mostly clubs from Hyderabad City form the electoral college of the HCA while the remaining districts of Telangana do not have an equal say in the electoral college.

The committee is working on a suitable model of memberships that is equitable.
The report also mentions that memberships are fraudulent with the names of member clubs changing from time to time, raising a strong suspicion of clubs being sold for crores of rupees which is against the fundamental ethics of societies memberships, which are non-transferable.

The report also reflects complaints filed by the State Government alleging large scale frauds in HCA memberships, lack of intent to provide equal membership rights to districts and has also highlighted disappearance of the clubs allotted to the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad and institutions over the years.The committee report highlights the disappearance of hundreds of clubs that existed 35 years ago and there is no record of how these clubs disappeared and who fraudulently took them over.

Finally, it is also seen that the chairman of the committee was appointed as the Ombudsman in 2021 by a rival group opposed to Md. Azharuddin, the President of HCA.

This was done in utter disregard of the TS High Court orders which upheld the appointment of Justice Deepak Verma as the Ombudsman of HCA.

The Chairman of the committee has not signed the Committee’s report. Usually, frauds in membership have to be looked into by the Ombudsman and under the by-laws there is no time limit prescribed for the Ombudsman to complete his enquiry.

HCA sources said that membership frauds have existed in HCA since 1990 and have increased over time.The beneficiaries of fraud have stonewalled all efforts to clean up the HCA by appointing an Ombudsman of their choice by using their majority to make sure that complaints regarding fraudulent memberships, multiple clubs and other frauds are never acted upon and are swept under the carpet until the tenure of the Apex council is completed and after keeping these issues pending for years.

It appears that the group of interested members felt threatened by the appointment of the Justice Deepak Verma committee that their frauds would get exposed and therefore fought tooth and nail to oppose his appointment.

In fact, if their intentions were clean, it should not have mattered to them on who the Ombudsman of HCA is.

So, the story goes on and the report is before the Supreme Court. It is now impossible to fathom how an association responsible for managing cricket in Telangana can be filled with fraudulent doings at its very structure are memberships. This has led to growth of corruption, nepotism, favouritism and systematic destruction of process.

It is also appalling to note that the BCCI has been funding HCA that is, built on such deeply structured fraud. Is this the way cricket, the most popular game in India, has to be run in states, which are the feeding grounds of talent to the national team, questioned the report.

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