The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on former union minister and Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh, who had recently alleged a scam in the land allotment to the sports body in Dharamsala by the previous BJP government, calling his integrity into question.
In a press conference held here, HPCA spokesperson Sanjay Sharma said, "Though the sports body never wants to indulge in mudslinging, it became necessary to defend self when someone splashes mud on you."
Sharma said in 2011, Ramesh, who was the then union minister for environment, visited the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research's (CSIR) Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT) at Palampur. "A person named Farruq was accompanying the minister during the tour in individual capacity and was also present when the latter visited HPCA's international cricket stadium," Sharma said, adding, "Would the Congress leader please clarify his link with the said person who was not among his staff?"
"Was any personal interest involved? Who was gaining from this closeness, Farruq or the minister himself?" he asked.
The HPCA spokesperson said Farruq, it was learnt, was an entrepreneur who was seeking licence and necessary clearance for saffron cultivation in Kashmir.
Sharma said during his visit, Ramesh had expressed desire to visit Dharamsala stadium and was welcomed by HPCA president Anurag Thakur. "He not only praised the work done by the HPCA but also hit out against his own party leaders over the Commonwealth Games scam," Sharma claimed.
We always have, Sharma said, highest regards for Ramesh and didn't expect him to become part of politics of mudslinging. "He should have collected full information on the issue before speaking anything," Sharma said.
Replying to the allegations levelled by Ramesh, the HPCA official said the land was allotted to the HPCA by the government and not by a father to his son and everything was done as per the rules laid down by the state government. He said the Congress in its 2003-2007 regime had investigated into the matter but the HPCA had come out clean.
"As far as the issue of converting from society to company is concerned, HPCA has not been made a private enterprise but a non-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act. The Constitution allows a society to convert into a non-profit company," he added.
Ramesh had accused former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his parliamentarian son and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur of "abusing authority" by transferring 16 acres to HPCA to build a stadium in violation of law, thus causing loss of `100 crore to the state exchequer.