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Land acquisition row: VB registers case against HPCA chief, brother

More trouble brewed up for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) chief Anurag Thakur, son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, and his younger brother Arun Singh, as the state anti-corruption and vigilance bureau (SVACB) on Thursday registered a case against the duo over irregularities in purchase of ‘nautor’ land at Dharamsala.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2013 20:23 IST
Naresh K Thakur
Naresh K Thakur
Hindustan Times

“Nautor” land is land allotted to a landless person.

The vigilance bureau also registered a separate case against the HPCA for encroachment upon land owned by the state sports department outside the international cricket stadium at Dharamsala.

“A case has been registered in the north zone of the SVACB police station under Sections 420, 188 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act for irregularities in purchase of 32 marlas at Kalapul near Dharamsala, in which the names of Anurag and Arun figure prominently along with revenue officials of Kangra,” said superintendent of police (SP-vigilance), north, Bimal Gupta.

The two cases have been registered, following inquiries marked into the Congress chargesheet.
The land purchased from one Premu is registered in the name of Anurag, while Arun holds the general power of attorney for him.

Official records say the land was allotted to Premu under the HP Village Common Land Vesting and Utilisation Scheme, 1975.

Initially, there was a cap on selling of land for 10 years, which was increased in 1987 to 20 years with the condition that the beneficiary could not sell the land until his wife is alive.

The land was allotted to landless Premu in December 1992 and the ownership was transferred in his name in June 1993 after mutation. Interestingly, the then tehsildar of the area had given a note that the beneficiary could not sell it for 15 years.

Thakur brothers purchased this land in January 2008 for `7 lakh. “Though according to the rules, the limit is 20 years, even if we consider tehsildar’s note, the time was not over. It comes to 14 years and 6 months,” Gupta said, adding that it was clearly violation of rules and regulations.

He said the seller, who is now dead, was an illiterate and he must have been kept in the dark about rules and regulations or lured by the purchasers.

Gupta added that a separate case was registered against the HPCA for encroachment over government land, damaging a government building.

The state sports department owns the land measuring 720 sq m. “As per the revenue records, the entire land on which the cricket stadium stands, earlier belonged to the state education department, which was transferred to the sports department, to facilitate the construction of the stadium,” said Gupta. The land was later leased out to HPCA on annual lease of Rs 1.

The chunk of land, which has been encroached, was not leased out to HPCA as a two-storey building belonging to the education department (residential quarters) stood on it at that time. “The building was demolished during the construction of the stadium without due permissions,” he maintained.

Gupta also revealed that during investigations, it was found that the then deputy commissioner of Kangra, KK Pant, had directed PWD officials in a meeting to repair a report on the building, which HPCA claims was in shambles. The meeting was also attended by an HPCA official. “However, we have not found any record about whether the permission was granted to demolish the building,” said Gupta.

A case has been registered in this regard under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and relevant sections of the IPC.

First Published: Oct 03, 2013 14:04 IST