A local court on Monday adjourned the hearing in a building demolition case filed against Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur and ten others till May 23. The cricketing body has been accused of illegally razing a two-story building belonging to the state higher education department.
The building, comprising residential quarters for faculty members of the local Government College, was located near the main gate of the town's cricket stadium. It was allegedly demolished by HPCA in 2008 without the necessary permission.
The state vigilance bureau filed an FIR in the case against the association on October 3, 2013 under Section 447 and 120B (damage to public property) of the IPC and Section 13C of the Prevention of Corruption Act and a charge sheet was filed in November last year. The investigative agency alleged the 720 square meters of land on which the building stood was later encroached upon by the cricket body.
The vigilance bureau alleged HPCA had pleaded in 2008 before then Kangra deputy commissioner KK Pant that a "ramshackle" house adjoining the stadium was "posing a threat" to its infrastructure. Following a request from the sports body, Pant convened a meeting at his office on March 14, 2008 that was attended by PWD officials, college officials and an HPCA office bearer. At the meeting the college's principal was asked to give in writing to the Public Works Department to declare the building unsafe.
However, PWD officials declared the building unsafe a month before receiving the request from the college authorities and without getting any technical survey conducted, and the structure was razed even though no authorisation had been given.
The others who have been named in the charge sheet include HPCA officials Sanjay Sharma, Attar Singh, Gautam Thakur, two Indian Administration Service officers -Pant and PC Dhiman (the principal education secretary at the time) and Himachal Administrative Service officer OP Sharma who was then director of higher education.
Besides, two former principals of Government College, Dharamsala - NarenderAwasthi and Lalit Mohan Sharma - along with PWD executive engineer Devi Chand Chauhan and retired subdivisional officer MC Katoch have also been named in the charge sheet.