CM trying to control Himachal cricket body: Thakur

Dharamsala, Oct 24 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh BJP MP and state cricket association chief Anurag Thakur Thursday dared Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to do whatever he could to stop the cricket body from holding matches in its international cricket stadium here.

"The present government is trying to take over the cricket body (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association [HPCA]). It's my open challenge to Virbhadra Singh to do whatever he can. We won't let your dreams be fulfilled," he said while addressing party activists, who gathered here on his birthday.

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 here, some 250 km from the state capital.

The disputed land, three km from the picturesque stadium, has been used by the HPCA to build a five-star residential complex called The Pavilion, which has 38 rooms, 32 huts and a high-tech gym.

The HPCA chief said the Congress government had tried to take control of the cricket body in its previous regime in 2003 also.

"The last time they had brought a sports bill to take over the HPCA and now they are trying it through vigilance enquiries."

The BJP MP, who has been told to appear in the Vigilance Bureau office here Oct 31, said he has replied to everything that has been asked of him.

An investigating officer told IANS that Thakur was earlier sent a questionnaire, comprising eight inquiries.

"We got the reply from him but we are not satisfied. So we summoned him," he said.

"The land allotted to the HPCA was the common village land which could not be given for any commercial activity," said a revenue official, who did not wish to be named.

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

Thakur, who is Dhumal's son, 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).

Two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers -- Deepak Sanan and R.S. Gupta -- were charge sheeted by the state government July 26 for allegedly allowing the change in the land-use for building the HPCA complex.

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