BCCI allocates matches to Himachal body

Shimla, Nov 7 (IANS) A day after the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) got its stadiums back from the state government on the intervention of the high court, the BCCI Thursday allocated national matches to the cricket body.

"We have been allowed by the BCCI to host matches in Dharamsala, Lunu and Amtar stadiums," Mohit Sood, HPCA's press secretary, told IANS here.

He said Ranji Trophy Group C matches would be played in Dharamsala from Nov 14 to Dec 1, while Col C.K. Nayudu Trophy (U-25) (Plate A) at Amtar near Hamirpur town from Nov 22 to Dec 2, Cooch Behar Trophy (U-19) (Elite- A) at Lunu near Bilaspur Dec 1 to 11 and Vijay Merchant Trophy (U-16) - at Amtar from Dec 11 to 18.

"The stadium in Dharamsala has started its routine activity after the handover by the administration," Sood added.

He said work on the cricket academies as promised by Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh would now be taken up expeditiously and efforts would be made to make them operational by this year-end.

In a major jolt to the state government, the state high court Tuesday indicted the government for forcible eviction of BJP MP Anurag Thakur-led state cricket body from the stadiums and ordered restoration of possession to it.

A division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh ordered restoration of status quo ante as obtained prior to Oct 26 when forcible possession of the stadium and the land has been taken over by the state.

The interim order came on a writ petition filed by the HPCA, opposing the government decision on the ground that it was not given proper opportunity to be heard before the decision was taken.

"The orders of forcible dispossession are against law, constitutional guarantee and obligations of the state to its citizens as a person in settled possession of a premises cannot be dispossessed by an executive fiat, even though he can be stated as a trespasser," the bench observed.

The judges further said: "The restoration of status quo ante is no impediment for the government to proceed with the legal remedies and the opinion is only prima-facie and for considering the grant of interim relief only."

Official sources said the government action came after allegations against the HPCA over converting itself from a society to a company.

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