BJP MP formally charged in Himachal cricket body land row

Dharamsala, Within a week of a trial court here summoning BJP MP Anurag Thakur for alleged wrongdoing in land allotment to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association which he heads, another charge sheet was filed against him Tuesday for axing trees on the land for rsiding a residential complex for players.

Officials said the state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau charge sheet named six people, including three Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) office-bearers - president Anurag Thakur, secretary Vishal Marwah and public relations officer Sanjay Sharma.

Three government functionaries whose names figure in the charge sheet are range officer (forest) Vidhi Chand and revenue officials Kuldeep Kumar and Jagdish Ram.

Superintendent of Police Bimal Gupta told IANS that the charge sheet was filed in the court of Dharamsala District and Sessions Judge D.K. Sharma.

A large number of trees were felled by the HPCA during the construction of The Pavilion, the residential complex near the international stadium in Dharamsala, said the vigilance bureau.

Thakur is the son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

The vigilance bureau registered a case against the HPCA for illegally felling trees on the land on which the residential complex has come up.

"The forest official in his no-objection certificate stated that the land allotted to the HPCA was barren and no trees existed there. The fact is that even now 2,023 trees are standing at the site and most of them are 30-35 years old," said an investigating official.

Earlier, Thakur and his father Dhumal were summoned by a Dharamsala court in another case for alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land to the HPCA for the residential complex, which the HPCA website calls an "exotic residential resort".

Special Judge (Vigilance) K.K. Sharma Sep 6 issued summons to 16 accused, including the Dhumals, to appear in person at the next date of hearing Oct 27.

However, two other accused - Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers Deepak Sanan and Ajay Sharma - were not summoned as the prosecution agency is yet to get sanction to proceed against them.

The vigilance bureau Aug 1 last year filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA over alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land, which according to revenue records was common village land, to the sports association for constructing the residential complex.

The disputed land, three km from the picturesque stadium and 250 km from the state capital, has been used by the HPCA to build a five-star The Pavilion, which has 38 rooms, 32 huts and a high-tech gym.

The land was allotted when Dhumal, Anurag Thakur's father, headed the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state.

Write your comment now