Amid allegations and counter-allegations between the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and the ruling Congress, the state cricket body on Friday came out with their guns blazing at chief minister Virbhadra Singh, accusing him of misusing funds for Padam Singh Memorial Cricket Tournament, which is organised annually by his family at Rohru in Shimla district.
Addressing a press conference here, HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma said Singh should disclose the details of funds generated to organise the cricket tournament at Rohru.
According to information, crores of funds are diverted from almost all government departments for the tournament. “This is misuse of power and Virbhadra Singh and his family should disclose details of the total income earned during the tournament and where this money is being spent,” said Sharma.
“We have information that these funds were misused during the recently held bypoll for Mandi parliamentary seat as chief minister's wife Pratibha Singh was contesting the elections,” alleged Sharma.
Hitting out at the state government, Sharma said the ruling Congress was least concerned about the development of the state or resolving the problems being faced by common masses and was working with vindictive nature targeting the state cricket body.
“Ever since the Congress came into power it has only one agenda that is how to target HPCA officials,” said Sharma.
He alleged that baseless statements were being given by Congress leaders against HPCA chief Anurag Thakur to mislead the public and divert the attention of the people from failure of the state government.
“The chief minister is also pressurising vigilance officials to register cases against members of the state cricket body,” alleged Sharma. Taking on former Congress minister Ram Lal Thakur, Sharma said the minister had brought the sports bill in previous stint of the Congress and had forcibly tried to take over the stadium.
“Now, he is saying that the HPCA's cricket ground at Luhnu in Bilaspur was built on the BBMB land. If it was so, why he spent Rs. 25 lakh on the same land when his son was the chief of the Bilaspur Cricket Association,” said Sharma, adding that despite being a member of the HPCA, the former minister's son never attended a meeting of the cricket body.
He said if the Congress and Virbhadra Singh had such hatred for cricket, why they didn't ban all activities related to the game in the state.