Vigilance gives nod to register case of mistrust, cheating against HPCA

Trouble's brewing for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) being headed by Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur, son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, as the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau (SVACB) has given its nod to register a case of “cheating” and “mistrust” against it.

“We have got a nod from the headquarters to register a case against HPCA,” deputy inspector general of police (SVACB) AP Singh said.

The SVACB has permitted its North zone police station in Dharamsala to register a case under sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The nod came following completion of inquiry conducted by SVACB North zone in Dharamsala. After it received complaints that company under the name of HPCA was already registered in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, the government ordered investigation to ascertain the facts. Inquiries revealed that in 2005, a company under the name of Himalayan Players Association was registered in Kanpur and two months later it was renamed as Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.

In 2009, HPCA (the company) migrated to Chandigarh from Kanpur and applied for change of address at the office of registrar co-operative societies in Chandigarh. Inquiries revealed that the firm had given the mailing address of HPCA stadium Dharamsala.

It further revealed that HPCA, while applying for the land lease, had concealed the fact that the association was already registered under the Companies Act. HPCA even applied for land lease for construction of a residential complex for players, which was later turned into a high-end hotel-The Pavilion.

HPCA had applied for the land after the youth services and sports department recommended 3.28 hectares of land for construction of residential complex for players in October, 2009. What further raised hackles of SVACB was HPCA's letters to the registrar's cooperative societies in 2012 informing the office that the general body meeting of HPCA had passed a resolution, where HPCA was now a company with assets and liabilities.

The registrar cooperative societies had further said that assets cannot be transferred to the company until they are liquidated. The total assets of the company amounted to Rs 100 crore, which included a scenic stadium and a high-end hotel-The Pavilion-in Dharamsala.

Situated in Kand village, five kilometres from the main town of Dharamsala, this hotel has remained in the eye of storm ever since its construction began in 2009.

Villagers had initially opposed the construction of the hotel, as the government decided to allot village common land for the purpose.

The land was leased out to HPCA after the cabinet passed the decision. But the allotment again came to limelight, when two Indian Administrative Services officers: additional chief secretary Deepak Sanan and former Kangra deputy commissioner RS Gupta were charge-sheeted for facilitating the land use change for HPCA's high-end hotel in Dharamsala.

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 for commercial purposes initially leased out to HPCA in Mauza Khaniara by the orders of state cabinet for limited purpose of construction of residential building for player's infrastructural facility.

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


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