HPCA finds itself mired in legal mess

The land earmarked for a hostel for players was used for constructing a star category hotel.

Chandigarh: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president and Member of Parliament from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur is in trouble as a cheating case registered against the state body may also land him in the jail.

The case has not only put his political career on stake but has also sullied his public image. HPCA is accused of garnering favours from the previous BJP government and misusing provisions to churn money from the government land which it actually got to promote the sport.HPCA president Anurag Thakur.

Eyebrows were raised when the then BJP government showered favours on the cricket association headed by the son of chief minister, Prem Kumar Dhumal.

The land earmarked for a hostel for players was used for constructing a star category hotel. Sources said the matter was not placed before the cabinet and the sub-lease of the land was approved by two IAS officers who have been charge-sheeted recently.

The turnover of the hotel complex was Rs 1.72 crore in 2012- 13.

“The land was alloted to the society and not to the company. Government permission to transfer the land was never sought. The assets of the society were transferred to the company which is illegal. Investigation is on and it is expected to bring more facts to light,” a senior Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau officer said.

When contacted, Thakur said the FIRs were politically motivated.

“The society was merged into a company for the benefit of cricket. It is not a private limited company and everything has been done under the law. HPCA had received the nod from Company Law Board and the co-operative societies department. The merger was also important because the Congress government during its previous regime had tried to grab HPCA by introducing a Sports Bill,” Thakur said.

He said that the construction of a hotel had become a necessity as organising international matches without one was not possible.

“ICC match referee Alan Hurst in his September 5,2007 report had said that an international match is not possible in Dharamsala where there is no five-star hotel. We had also shown him a couple of hotels which were not approved by him,” Thakur said.

He said HPCA is not the only association to have constructed a hotel and was running commercial activities on the land. There were similar hotels in Mohali, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Nagpur as well.

The state association has strongly defended itself, saying it is a ploy of the Congress-led state government.

“We assure all stakeholders and public that HPCA is open to a free and fair trial from any investigating agency in a time-bound manner. We have and would always cooperate with the authorities working without bias."


CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

1999: Himalayan Players Cricket Association is registered as Co-operative Society.

JULY 2005: Himalayan Players Cricket Association is registered in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, with nine members including two government officials. Later also registered in Chandigarh.

2012: A resolution is passed in Dharamsala to merge the HPCA society with Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).


ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HPCA

HPCA ran two parallel organisations under the name and style of HPCA — Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association as company and Himachal Players Cricket Association as society. Single balance sheet was used for both the organisations.

A merger of society was done in 2012 which violated laws as the society cannot be merged into a company particularly when government assistance or land has been alloted to the society.

The government land has been given to the society on lease. The land was allotted to the society to promote the cricket but star category hotel was constructed on the land to earn money.

This also violates 2011 Supreme Court ruling which said village common land cannot be used for private and commercial use . Court has termed such allotments as 'illegal' and ‘encroachments’.


Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.

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