Court dismisses Himachal cricket chief's petition

Shimla, Sep 19 (IANS) In a major setback to BJP MP and Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur, the state high court Thursday directed him to appear before the registrar of societies here.

Dismissing a petition filed by the HPCA and Thakur for quashing a notice issued to the cricket body by the state registrar of cooperative societies over alleged irregularities, a division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh directed the petitioners to appear before the state registrar of cooperative societies Sep 30.

Thakur is also a joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

It asked them "to submit objections and preliminary objections, which shall be decided by the registrar of societies".

But the court neither declined to pass any interim order nor expressly stayed a show-cause notice by the registrar of cooperative societies to the HPCA Sep 7 over alleged irregularities in registering the sports body.

The registrar of societies had restrained the HPCA governing body from passing any order or resolution, or make any expenditure or investment or banking transaction or perform any other act concerning the affairs of HPCA without its approval.

It had also directed the cricket body to function under the superintendence, direction and control of the authority of the additional deputy commissioner of Kangra posted at Dharamsala, where HPCA's picturesque stadium is located.

The HPCA had challenged the notice, saying it was converted to a not for profit company Oct 1, 2012 and hence it was not a registered society and the registrar of societies could not exercise any jurisdiction over it.

The bench, on the first day of the case hearing, observed that since it was only a show-cause notice, therefore, the petitioners can raise the issue of jurisdiction before the registrar of societies.

Advocate General Sharvan Dogra said the petitioners have initially registered as a society under Registration of Societies Act in the name of HPCA and the government land was allotted to the society on merely Re.1 annual lease.

Later the petitioners got registered as a company in the name of Himalayan Players Cricket Association (HPCA) and allegedly merged the society in the company in violation of the provisions of the Societies Act.

Dogra said the state government has also initiated proceedings whereupon the present proceedings shall have no bearing.

Official sources told IANS that the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau last month 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.

The land was allotted when the Bharatiya Janata Party government, headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal, was in power in the state. Thakur is Dhumal's son.

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

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