Congress asks Himachal cricket body chief about directors

Shimla: The Congress unit in Himachal Pradesh Thursday asked state cricket association president Anurag Thakur about its directors and how many of them belong to his family.

Taking a jibe at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), facing charges over alleged irregularities in its functioning, the Congress leaders in a statement, said: "Anurag Thakur must tell how many people were benefitted by the HPCA by making them its member and out of them how many belong to his family and other states."

The state government, the Congress leaders said, had given 450 "kanal" (equivalent to 505.857 sq. metres or one-eighth of an acre) land valued Rs.200 crore at Re.1 lease to the HPCA that was registered as a society for the development of sports and not to any private company.

The HPCA, however, claims at present it is a company and not a registered society.

The leaders comprising former ministers Harsh Mahajan, G.R. Musafir and Kuldeep Pathania asked Thakur to tell the cricket fans as to how much money was given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the members of parliament for the construction of the stadium (in Dharamsala) and the players` five-star residential complex near the stadium.

The HPCA website calls the players` complex the "exotic residential resort".

"He should reveal how much money was made by organising IPL (Indian Premier League) matches in the Dharamsala stadium and how much money Anurag himself had invested in the HPCA," they asked.

They said the HPCA was granted the land on lease for providing sportspersons housing facilities while it constructed a five-star hotel on the allotted land by flouting all the rules and using the allotted land for commercial purposes without taking permission of the state cabinet.

The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau filed a cheating and misappropriation case in August against the HPCA over alleged wrong-doings in allotment of land to it for constructing a residential complex for the players.

The land was allotted when the Bharatiya Janata Party government, headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal, was in power.

Thakur, Dhumal`s son and a joint secretary in the BCCI, alleged the case against the HPCA is politically motivated.

The government Oct 26 cancelled the lease of lands given to the HPCA and took possession of the international cricket stadium and its residential complex in Dharamsala and lands allotted to the HPCA in Bilaspur, Nurpur, Kotkhai and Shimla.

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