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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Shimla, July 27, 2013
The Himachal Pradesh government has set a 10-day deadline for two Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers, who were charge-sheeted for allowing the land use change for the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association's high-end hotel in Dharamsala. On Friday evening, two officers - additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan and commissioner, inquiries, RS Gupta - were charge-sheeted for their role in land allotment to HPCA, which is headed by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son and Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur.

The personnel department issued a memorandum to both Sanan and Gupta under Rule 8 of the All-India Service (discipline and appeal) Rules, 1969.

Sanan, who was principle secretary, revenue, in 2011, approved the use of land for commercial purposes initially leased to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association in Mauza Khaniara by the orders of the state cabinet for limited purpose of construction of residential building for player's infrastructural facility.

However, the said approval of land for commercial purposes was granted by Sanan at his own level by varying earlier decision of the cabinet, for which he was not competent, says the excerpts of the chargesheet.

There was no recommendation from the Uparli gram panchayat, reads the chargesheet.

The chargesheet says that Sanan had abused his position as public servant and granted undue benefit to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association and further he failed to maintain absolute integrity, devotion to duty and thus contravened provisions of Rules 2(1) and (2) of the All-India Service (discipline and appeal) Rules, 1969, which is unbecoming of the IAS officer.

The chargesheet also states that land use had been changed without obtaining permission from the sports department.

Gupta, who was Kangra deputy commissioner at the time of transfer of land, has been accused of disobeying the government orders.

The chargesheet accuses Gupta of forwarding the case to the financial commissioner, revenue, without obtaining permission and no-objection certificate from the panchayat concerned.

Earlier, both Sanan and Gupta had been issued show-causes notices in March.

While Gupta had replied to the notice in April, Sanan filed it recently after going through the information on land lease rules he had gathered under the Right to Information Act.