Hamirpur MP and newly- elected secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Anurag Thakur has offered to quit as the president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) after a 15-year stint at the top post.
Thakur, who took over the reins of the state cricket body at the age of 25 in 2002, completes his term as the HPCA chief in May.
Thakur, 40, the elder son of former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was elected as the BCCI secretary on March 2.
"For the past 15 years, we have worked as a family to lift the HPCA an unknown entity to a cricket body that matters," Thakur told his team during a felicitation program organized at Dharamsala Cricket Stadium to honour him, on Friday evening.
"Today, we have an international stadium and the requisite infrastructure has been provided for. Now, it's time for a new team to take over," said an emotional Thakur.
He added he remembered that when he was the president, the HPCA's annual budget was Rs 20 lakh and the BCCI subsidized the association.
"Since then, we have come a long way and HPCA has carved a niche for itself in the world of cricket ," said Thakur adding that it will not be easy for him to continue owing to the over busy schedule.
He also said the journey had been tough. "The then Congress government sent goons to forcibly take over the stadium," said Thakur, referring to the incident that took place on November 30, 2005, when a rival group led by the son of the then sports minister Ram Lal Thakur tried to break open the gates of Dharamsala stadium. The Himachal-Tripura Ranji match had been abandoned.
The former Ranji player added that a similar thing happened later too when the Congress government took over the HPCA stadium in a midnight swoop.
"However, nothing could deter us from achieving our goal," said the BCCI secretary.
Thakur thanked all HPCA officials for their support. "I want the state to win at least one or two national leagues over the next two years," he said, adding that the state government must not suppress the HPCA, but try and support it.
Thakur appears in Dharamsala court in two cases against HPCA
Dharamsala: The Hamirpur MP and newly- elect secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Anurag Thakur appeared before additional district and sessions-cum-special judge Kangra, DK Sharma, in two separate cases registered against him and other officials of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA).
In the case of cheating registered against HPCA officials for changing the status of the sports body from a society to a company, the judge listed the matter for next hearing on July 4. The proceedings in this case have been stayed by the Supreme Court and further proceedings will take place after the ruling by the apex court.
Meanwhile, in the second case registered against Thakur and others for illegal axing of trees on the land on which HPCA's five-star hotel has been built, the judge fixed May 23 as the next date of hearing.
The state vigilance and anti corruption bureau had filed a chargesheet against Anurag Thakur and five others in the case.
Other accused in the case include Bidhi Chand, the then range office of forest department, then tehsildhar Dharamsala, Jagdish Ram and field Kanoogo, Kuldeep Kumar.
The FIR in this case was lodged by vigilance bureau on November 29, 2013. The investigation agency charged that HPCA, in connivance with the forest and revenue officials, axed hundreds of green trees for construction of a five-star residential facility for players - The Pavilion, near Dharamsala town. The land was allotted to HPCA on lease in 2009.
The vigilance bureau had also sought 2009 satellite images of the chunk of land from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad, to ascertain the number of trees which were allegedly axed illegally.