The state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau on Tuesday filed another chargesheet against Hamirpur MP and Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president Anurag Thakur and five others in connection with a case of illegally felling large number of pine trees during the construction of high-end resort for players, 'The Pavilion' near Dharamsala town.
Others whose names figured in the chargesheet are HPCA honorary secretary Vishal Marwah, spokesperson Sanjay Sharma, Bidhi Chand, the then range officer of the forest department, field kanungo Kuldeep Kumar and tehsildar Jagdish Ram. The challan was submitted in the court of district and sessions judge DK Sharma.
The FIR in this case was lodged by the vigilance bureau on November 29, 2013. Thakur, two office- bearers of HPCA and forest and revenue officials were charged under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 447 (criminal trespass), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The vigilance bureau charged the HPCA with illegally axing a large number of pine trees standing on the land allotted on the lease for construction of the resort, 'The Pavilion' which was later turned into a hotel.
The land was allotted in 2009 when the BJP government, headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal, was in saddle in the state.
The investigating agency has also charged the forest and revenue officials, named in the chargesheet, for conniving with HPCA and giving wrong information in the no-objection certificate (NOC) given to HPCA.
The forest officials in the NOC had stated that there are no trees on the patch of the land allotted to HPCA.
However, the vigilance enquiry established that even now, there are 2,023 trees standing at the leased land.
The probe also revealed that trees adjoining the hotel are at least 30-year-old, making it clear that they could not have been planted after the hotel was constructed.
Inconsistencies were found in the records of the forest and revenue department during the investigation which hinted that trees were felled illegally.
“We have strong evidences that hundreds of trees were felled to clear the patch on which the hotel came up,” said a vigilance official.
The bureau has also sought decade-old satellite images of the patch of land from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, to ascertain how many trees were illegally felled.
“As soon as we get the images, these will be annexed with the chargesheet as evidences,” said a vigilance official.
Another chargsheet against HPCA has already been filed in a Dharamsala court in connection with a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust registered against the sports body over alleged wrong doings in allotment of land and change of status from society to company.
Recently, a trial court had summoned Anurag Thakur, his father and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and 14 other accused in the case.