Former PWD official first to be arrested in HPCA land row
Shimla/Dharamsala: Making the first arrest in the HPCA row, state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau on Tuesday took a former PWD official into custody for declaring a building near the Dharamsala cricket stadium `unsafe`, allegedly in connivance with the cricket association.
M C Katoch, then a sub-divisional officer with the Public Works Department, was arrested from Palampur Town, about 35 km from Dharamsala, an official of the vigilance bureau said.
Katoch is the first to be arrested since a case of cheating and misappropriation was filed on August 1 against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, led by BJP MP and son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Anurag Thakur.
Sources said Katoch is accused of declaring a government college building located near the main gate of the Dharamsala stadium as "unsafe". The building was demolished in 2008 when the BJP was in power, paving the way for "encroachment of the vacant plot" by the HPCA, they added.
"Katoch took the decision to declare the building unsafe without getting its technical survey report, whereas the fact was that the building was repaired just a year before," a bureau official said on the condition of anonymity.
"A fresh land demarcation was carried out three days ago by revenue officials and it was found that the HPCA has encroached upon 3,000 sqm of government land. Earlier, it was estimated that the encroachment was on 720 sqm land," the official said.
The HPCA is facing two cases: First, a case of cheating and misappropriation in allotment of land, which according to the revenue records was common village land, to the sports association for constructing a residential complex for the players near its stadium in Dharamsala.
Second, it has been accused of encroaching upon 3,000 sqm of government land. The plot is located near the main gate of the Dharamsala stadium.
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