A Dharamsala court on Saturday summoned former chief minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar Dhumal, his MP son Anurag Thakur and younger son Arun Dhumal, among others, in connection with a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust registered against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) last year.
The HPCA is headed by Anurag Thakur, who represents the Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency in Himachal Pradesh.
The summons were issued against 16 of the total 18 persons whose name figured in the chargesheet filed by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau on April 25 this year.
However, two other accused -- IAS officers Deepak Sanan and Ajay Sharma -- were not summoned as the prosecution agency is yet to give prosecution sanction against them.
Special judge KK Sharma asked the 16 accused to appear before the court during the next hearing in the case on October 27.
The vigilance bureau accused HPCA of acquiring land fraudulently by deception and illegal means, obtaining documents -- NOCs (no objection certificates) and other certificates -- fraudulently with a criminal intention, and conversion of HPCA, which was registered as a society, into a company with ulterior motives to cause wrongful loss to the state.
The investigating agency had booked 18 persons including office-bearers of HPCA, senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and Himachal Administrative Service (HAS) officers under sections 420, 406, 218, 120(B) and 201 of the IPC and section 13(B) of the Prevention of Corruption Act in August last year.
A year-long enquiry by the vigilance bureau had also indicted Dhumal, leader of Opposition in state Vidhan Sabha.
On April 2 this year, Himachal Pradesh governor Urmila Singh granted sanction to initiate proceedings against Dhumal for alleged wrongdoing during his regime as chief minister (2002-07) in allotment of land to the HPCA, led by his son Anurag Thakur, who is also a joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan, (then principal secretary, revenue) and Bilaspur deputy commissioner Ajay Sharma, (then the director of sports and youth services) have also been named in the chargesheet.
The chargesheet mentioned that Sanan approved the land for commercial use at his own level and changed the cabinet's decision, for which he was not authorised.
Sanan, who was principle secretary, revenue, in 2011, approved the use of land in Mauza Khaniara for commercial purposes. This land was initially leased out to HPCA by the orders of state cabinet for the limited purpose of construction of residential building for players' infrastructural facility.
HPCA is also accused of changing its status from cricket promoting society to company, in violation of rules.