Retaliating against the prosecution sanction against him in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) irregularities case, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who is also the leader of opposition, said the cricket stadium in Dharamsala was not “anyone’s personal property”.
“I will not be cowed down by the government’s actions. I have faith in the judiciary and can only say that truth will prevail in the end,” Dhumal told mediapersons here on Friday.
“The decision to allot land for the construction of the stadium was made collectively by the state cabinet, not by me alone,” Dhumal said, claiming many players from the state had been absorbed into various teams participating in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League tournament. He added that Rishi Dhawan from Mandi was selected to play in the IPL and Sushma Verma from Shimla got selected for the national women’s cricket team.
“Chief minister Virbhadra Singh thinks that he was promoting sports by organising a cricket tournament in the memory of his father and a volleyball tournament in the memory of his mother,” he said, alleging that Virbhadra was trying to “equate” the Maharaja Padam Singh memorial cricket tournament with the “feats of the HPCA”. “The Padam Singh memorial cricket tournament cannot be compared with the HPCA, since it the association is not someone’s personal property,” he added.
Accusing the government of “engaging in slander” against him, Dhumal alleged that the vigilance bureau was being “misused” to settle political scores. “The land was given to the HPCA to encourage sports by the cabinet, not me, and as a result, a number of cricket players are now securing spots in national-level teams,” said Dhumal, terming the inclusion of his name in the vigilance chargesheet “false and fabricated”.
“People know who is corrupt. They cannot be fooled. Everyone knows who has favoured the promoter of the Sai Kothi project and who has received payoffs from a steel company, besides transporting tonnes of apples on scooters and oil tankers,” said Dhumal, while mocking the clean chit given to Virbhadra Sagar Katha Udyog case.