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Supreme Court asks if cases against Anurag Thakur, HPCA will be withdrawn

The Supreme Court said since the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), Anurag Thakur and others claimed that the cases were politically motivated, will the new BJP government withdraw the cases.

cricket Updated: Jan 19, 2018 19:56 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Anurag Thakur,Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association
Anurag Thakur and others had earlier claimed that the cases lodged against them were politically motivated. (HT Photo)

The Supreme Court today asked the newly elected BJP government in Himachal Pradesh whether it would withdraw criminal cases lodged against its MP Anurag Thakur and HPCA for alleged irregularities in the cricket stadium in Dharamshala.

The top court said since the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), Thakur and others had earlier claimed that the cases were politically motivated, will the new BJP government withdraw the cases lodged against them.

“We were expecting that you (State) will make a statement before us that you will withdraw cases against them. They (Thakur and HPCA) have earlier said that the case was politically motivated. Now, it is your government in state. Will you withdraw the case,” a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.

The bench, however, said it is up to the state government to decide what to do in the matter and the court will proceed accordingly as per law.

Advocate General Ashok Sharma and advocate D K Thakur, appearing for the state, said so far they had no nstruction with regard to withdrawal of cases.

The bench posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.

In the recent assembly electionsin the state, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal had lost, prompting the party to appoint Jai Ram Thakur as Chief Minister.

Dhumal, Thakur and HPCA had challenged the Himachal Pradesh High Court order of April 25, 2014, by which it had refused to quash the FIR and stay the criminal trial pending before special judge, Dharamshala, in a case registered under the provisions of cheating, criminal conspiracy and Prevention of Corruption Act.

The high court had rejected their plea saying no case for interference is made out at that stage. The apex court had on January 5, 2015, stayed trial in the case and summoned the case records from the trial court.

Thakur, who is party MP from Hamirpur and then president of HPCA, had contended in apex court that the case was actually a civil dispute but then Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government had made it a criminal case for political reasons.

He had argued that the case related to civil liability which could not be converted into a criminal case against him, his father Dhumal and several bureaucrats.

HPCA had contended that it was a non-profit making company and as such could not be prosecuted under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) which is meant for booking state-owned bodies and government officials.

State government had earlier told the apex court that HPCA first registered itself as a company and later got itself registered under the Societies Act and got land on lease from the government at a token cost of one rupee.

It had also claimed that as per rule, the government cannot give land on token money to any company or commercial organization. HPCA had got the land on lease in 2001 to construct the Dharamashala cricket stadium.

The FIR in the case was registered by the Dharamsala office of the Vigilance Bureau on August 1, 2013, after Virbhadra Singh led Congress government had come to power in December 2012.

In the FIR, it was alleged that after the construction of stadium, commercial activity was started with the opening of a hotel and restaurant.

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 19:56 IST