That statement was enough for this correspondent to pay a
visit to Chamundeshwarnath's home at Banjara Hills 10, a good stone's throw
from Mohammad Azharuddin's old home, Vajeh Mansion.
After exploring the area for a good 20 minutes, I found the
home, which was raided along with Azhar's home during
Operation Gentleman early this year. An
Opel Astra and a Tata Indica stood at the entrance.
Photographs of Azhar still adorn the walls of the home.
Azhar and Chamundi, as he is better known as, have a long
"I have nothing to say about him. I am not in contact with
him anymore. Please. I have nothing to say," he said.
More than two hours later, Chamundi bid goodbye at the
entrance with more
answers than I expected to find.
Vankenna Chamundeswaranath (born Rajahmundry, 25-6-1959)
played for Andhra
from 1978 to 1992 as a right hand middle-order batsman and
as an occasional right
arm medium pace and off-break bowler in 44 Ranji Trophy
matches scoring 1,818 runs at an
average of 26.34. He also led Andhra in 13 matches from
He is the first Indian to have played in the South African
domestic league after
that nation's readmission to international cricket.
In November 1990, he forfeited Andhra's second innings to
some extra bowling points against Kerala at Visakhapatnam.
He set Kerala a
target of 75 runs in 13 overs. Kerala made 76-1 in 11.2
overs to win by nine
wickets. Later that season, he lost his captaincy and a
place in the side when the selectors took a strong view of his decision and
dropped him on disciplinary grounds. He thus became the first captain in
domestic Indian cricket to forfeit an innings.
"I have no association with him anymore. Someone told the
IT guys that I had
Azhar's money with me. And they raided my house. But I have
nothing to worry.
All that I possess is my own money.
"I have been accused of having earned wealth
disproportionate to my income. I earned Rs 50 lakhs in my
benefit game way back in 1992. I received Rs 37 lakhs as
cash and a penthouse worth Rs 12 lakhs. My family owns
more than hundred acres of land. My share from that is a good 26
acres. My wife works as a consultant with a software
company. She earns half a
lakh a month and I earn the same amount," he said.
"After verifying and assessing my IT returns and other
documents, the IT authorities delinked my file from Azhar's the very next
day," he says, his pitch getting higher and higher.
Chamundi is bitter about Azhar today. "My mother died and
Azhar didn't call on
me. It hurts to know that despite the fact that I have
always wanted the best for
Azhar I have only been talked about for all the wrong
reasons," he says.
This is the man who "wore my helmet when he made his Test debut for India
at Calcutta," he recalls. Those were the days when Azhar and he were thick
as thieves. "I have never met Azhar after 1995. And the only reason was
Sangeeta Bijlani. That
woman is solely responsible for my fall-out with Azhar."
Some members of Hyderabad's cricketing fraternity claim
Chamundi was largely responsible for effecting a change in Azhar's outlook.
Some also blame him for Azhar's divorce.
When I asked him about it, Chamundi sprung to his feet and
summoned me to his bedroom. "I will just call Naureen's parents and you
speak to them. I have such a
good relationship with them. I was the only person who was
invited to Naureen's
wedding. Naureen is very close to me and she regularly
sends me whatever she
cooks at home. If I were responsible, then would she have kept in touch with me?
Azhar is not a kid that I can force him to do anything I
want him to do."
"I had warned Azhar that he should be careful with
Sangeeta, when he kept telling
me that she was just a friend. I was so sure that he would
never desert Naureen.
Especially after they had kids I thought it was
suicidal for him to break the
"I have never taken any favours from Azhar. In fact I have
helped him on many
occasions. I helped him clear the Honda he received as a
gift at the
customs. If Azhar wanted to do favours for me, he could
have. I scored three tons
in one season for Andhra, but was not picked by Azhar for
the South Zone team for the Deodhar Trophy. Robin Singh
scored three tons and was given a berth in the
"So, what favours are you talking about?"
Despite his differences with the former skipper, Chamundi
believes Azhar is too na´ve to have been involved in something so serious as
match-fixing. Azhar, he claims, is
the most indecisive and ignorant man he has ever met.
Azhar, he adds, is "a great son and superb human being. He
would issue blank cheques to his parents whenever they asked for some money.
He would empty his pockets when asked for assistance, irrespective of which
community the person hailed from.
"I was shocked when Azhar made that statement about being
against because of being a Muslim. Azhar is anything but a
That man came with me to Tirupati.
"I think Azhar is caught in a trap. He has a heart
of gold, despite the fact that he is
a fool. That woman is manipulating him
and there is no way out for him
"Just because I go to the ground in an Opel Astra, everyone
hates me. I don't care.
They can call me what they want. I know they call me a
broker and a pimp and all
those things. My conscience is clear and that is the final
"If I was a shady character, would Sachin interact with me?
I am very close to
Sachin Tendulkar. When he scored his record breaking 186
against New Zealand
In Hyderabad, he came home and was here till 2 in the
morning. He has also presented me
with his World Cup '99 jersey autographed by him. He called
me up in Vizag this
year to invite me for his son's birthday party."
"That should give you an idea of what kind of a person I
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