State Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau grills HPCA chief for two hours


The State Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (SV&ACB) today grilled HPCA chief Anurag Thakur for two hours at Dharamshala headquarters of Kangra district while probing alleged case of cheating and misappropriation registered against sports association.

An investigating officer of SV and ACB told hat Mr. Thakur, who is also a Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Hamirpur, has appeared before the investigators for the first time since the registration of cases against the HPCA.

“Questions relating to conversion of the HPCA, which was initially registered under the societies act, into a company and land encroachment upon by it near the (Dharamshala) stadium were asked,” Additional Superintendent of Police Jograj Jaryal said.

Official sources said the manner in which the HPCA, initially registered as an association under the Societies Act, got itself converted into a company without the government approval raised doubts about its functioning.

“A set of 50 questions were asked to Mr. Thakur,” said another official. Besides Mr. Thakur, HPCA officials Vishal Marwah (secretary) and A.S. Negi (treasurer) had been questioned by the agency separately.

“If needed, he (Mr. Thakur) will be summoned again,” Mr. Jaryal added.

Soon after questioning, HPCA president told reporters that he provided all the information sought by the Vigilance Bureau.

“We would continue to cooperate with the investigating agency, provided it’s working in a fair manner,” he added.

Earlier, Mr. Thakur, also joint secretary in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was told to appear in the Vigilance Bureau office here on October 31 but he failed to turn up.

The Vigilance Bureau on August 1 filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA over alleged wrong-doings in allotment of land, which according to revenue records was the common village land, to the sports association for constructing a residential complex for the players near its international stadium in Dharamshala.

The disputed land, 3 km from the picturesque stadium, has been used by the HPCA to build a five-star residential complex called The Pavilion, which has 38 rooms, 32 huts and a high-tech gym. The HPCA website calls it the “exotic residential resort”.

The land was allotted when the BJP government, headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal, was in power in the state.

The HPCA has been accused of encroaching upon a 720 sq. metre land of the state sports and youth services department. The encroached portion is located near the main gate of the HPCA stadium here. A case in this regard was registered on October 3.

Two Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers,  Deepak Sanan and R.S. Gupta were charge sheeted by the state government on July 26 for allegedly allowing the change in the land-use for building the HPCA residential complex.

Soon after taking over of charge Congress government registered cases against HPCA on the basis of charge sheet submitted to President Pranab Mukharjee by the former while it was in opposition. State government decided to cancel all lease deeds given to HPCA in last few years and taken over the possession of entire properties and assets being locked after by the premier cricket association in the state on October 26, 2013.

Hearing the petition lodged by HPCA before Himachal Pradesh high court on Nov 5, 2013 it directed the state government to maintain the status quo in the matter thereby handing over the entire properties of HPCA taken over on October 29, 2013 terming the state government action against the provisions of constitution.

The Congress government have to hand over the entire properties to HPCA by November 6, 2013 against its wish to do so. Now the HPCA is looking after the cause of cricket in the state as it was recognised by BCCI.

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