Hyderabad: By appointing Justice Anil Dave (retd), Justice GV Seetapathy (retd) and Ratnakar Shetty of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to run the show in the long overdue crisis-ridden Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), a road map has been created for the smooth conduct of the game in the city and in districts. The shameful infighting and total collapse in the affairs of the HCA took the game to a new low finally leading to the High Court to set the house in order. To the relief of the young cricketers, there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel. There could be hopefully some ‘achhe din’ when the process will be started to clear the mess and subsequently elections are held to the association as per the Lodha Committee reforms.
This time, unlike the earlier occasion, the scope has been extended to Justice Dave and Justice Seethapathy by giving free hand to deal with the administration by the two-bench of Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice J Uma Devi of the High Court. They have empowered the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the show and take all steps to amend bye laws so far suggested by the Supreme Court and also to hold elections afresh. More importantly, the CEO of HCA Panduranga Murthy will act only in accordance with the directions issued by the CoA.
As per the directions from the CoA, shall prepare through assistance of BCCI/lawyer or law firm engaged by them, a new set of byelaws of HCA incorporating all the amendments suggested by the Hon. Supreme Court and get them registered with Registrar of Societies.
The protracted rivalry between the two groups pushed the HCA to a dead end. The game came to a virtual standstill and the naming of two teams to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) tournament was the final nail in the coffin. It forced the CEO of BCCI to move an application in the High Court for continuing the existing Administrators or appointing new committee of Administrators for carrying out amendments to the bye laws of HCA as per latest Supreme Court orders and overseeing the administration of HCA either until the normalcy is restored or till the elections are held in accordance with amended bye laws. The CoA has to submit periodical reports about day to administration.
Given the bad track in recent years and on perusal of the documentary evidences placed before the court by the BCCI, the court felt that CEO is duly authorised to sign all the pleadings and affidavits on behalf of BCCI.
As the former secretary T Shesh Narayan had some reservations, the order clearly said that CEO’s competence cannot be questioned. Hence the objection raised by the secretary of HCA is overruled and felt that the objection taken by the secretary to the competence of the CEO BCCI to swear to the counter affidavit is nothing but an exhibition of ignorance.
In what could be an eye-opener, some of the observations made by the two judges are points to ponder. There were five different vakalats from HCA: “One through former secretary of HCA, Two through the present secretary, one through disqualified president and one through the in-charge President.”
The Court said “the old adage that high stakes litigation, professional ethics become the first casualty appears to have come true in this case.”
What is more rightfully the court the erosion of the value system of HCA and internal bickerings therein are too patent to go unnoticed even for a cataract. “Virtually more tournaments are now taking place in the court halls than in the cricket stadium, the only difference being that the elected members of the Apex Council themselves have become players as well as umpires trying to snatch away the trophy VIZ the office-bearer ship of the Association.”
The installation of CoA was basically to restore law & order in HCA. What is more damaging that the court felt that the issues raised by each one of the elected members as against the others relate to serious acts of financial improprieties, conflict of interest, involvement of criminal cases and serious irregularities. In fact, the Court said the Committee shall have to have the Forensic Audit that had already commenced, completed within a reasonable time and its conclusions taken to its logical end. This could have serious implications to many of the members.
Justice Dave and Justice Seethapathy will look after the administration while Shetty, an old hand in BCCI, will take care of the cricketing matters. Although the four-member Steering Committee of Players of Mohammad Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, Vidya Yadav and Rajini Venugopal had been formed, all eyes will be on Shetty to take a final call on the forming of various selection committee members and coaches.
The Court said the selection of players from Telangana for various BCCI tournaments shall be done by the CoA for the current season. But with the Vijay Hazare one-day tournament set to start in New Delhi on September 19 and Shetty yet to arrive, CEO Panduranga Murthy may send the list to BCCI for at least this tournament. On his assumption of office, it will be interesting to see if Shetty could make changes or continue with the same set of selectors and coaches is to be seen.