Take back land from Himachal cricket body: Congress leader

Shimla, Oct 15 (IANS) Former state sports minister Ram Lal Thakur Tuesday said the previous BJP government had given huge chunks of land to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) by violating statutory provisions and demanded that this land be taken back.

Armed with documents, accessed through the RTI Act, the senior Congress leader told reporters that the HPCA was given 4.31.16 hectares in Mohal Khaniara and 49,11,825 sq metres in Dharamsala, both in district Kangra, 4.31.16 hectares in Nadaun in Hamirpur district and 1.61 hectare in Gumma in Shimla district.

Thakur, who is currently chairman of the state-level Planning Development and 20-Point Programme Committee, said the HPCA had submitted two balance sheets, one in the company's name (with same office bearers) and another in a society's name in a year.

He said the manner in which an association, registered under the Societies Act, was converted into a company without approval of the government raised doubts.

He alleged that while the HPCA used the village common land leased out to it for sports promotion for the construction of a five-star hotel (a residential complex for the players near its stadium in Dharamsala), there was a serious irregularity in the whole process.

"The registry of the land was done in the name of the HPCA June 23, 2012, but the lease money of around Rs.27 lakh was calculated and deposited six months later Dec 11, 2012. How is it possible that the registry is done before depositing the lease money," he asked.

"The previous BJP government even leased out even the ground of Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, Lalpani in Shimla to the HPCA for cricket academy, committing gross irregularity," he alleged.

Thakur demanded that the government should tack back the land allotted to the HPCA.

"It was given to the society, but it is now in the company's name. It needs a probe and the entire land should be handed back to the government for the fraud committed in the name of society and company by the HPCA," he said.

The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau Aug 1 filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA over alleged wrong-doings in allotment of land to the state's sports body for constructing a residential complex for the players near its stadium in Dharamsala.

The land was allotted when the BJP government, headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal, was in power in the state.

HPCA president Anurag Thakur, who is also Dhumal's son, has alleged that the case against HPCA is politically motivated. Thakur is also a joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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